India, US could to sign defence agreement during Obama visit

India and US are likely to sign their new 10-year defence framework agreement during the visit to the country of President Barack Obama later this month, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Monday.
He added that the strengthening of the existing framework and enhancement of its scope was going to be “definitely beneficial” for India.
“This (the signing of the agreement) is one of the possibilities… These are issues which are in the spectrum, or horizon,” Parrikar told a news channel. However, the minister stated that the issue would be decided by the Prime Minister’s Office. The US President would be visiting the country later this month to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade here.
Asked if he welcomes such a framework, Parrikar said, “I think strengthening our ties with US, with the already existing framework enhancing its scope, is definitely beneficial to the country.”
He said technology transfer initiatives and trade can be important areas of the new framework. Parrikar pointed out that the focus would not be on procurement but on joint development of technology and technology transfer.
“There is already existing technology and trade (cooperation) which can be expanded,” he said. On a query about enhancing joint military exercises, Parrikar said it was already going on and that “enhancing it is not a big problem”. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US last September, both countries had agreed in principle to extend their defence agreement for another 10 years, which will take forward the cooperation between the two in the crucial area.

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