India was a poor country in the decade before 1971. Two debilitating wars with China (1962) and Pakistan (1965), truant monsoons, high inflation, food shortages and imports dominated headlines. Five-year plans were suspended from 1966 to 1969 due to a lack of resources. Prime Ministers Nehru and Shastri died in quick succession to cause political instability. Rupee devaluation (1966) triggered huge price rises. Banks were nationalised in 1969. There was a huge refugee problem throughout 71. The economy was in complete tatters. Despite all this India did not flinch when it came to funding for defence. Post-1962, we started to arm to defend ourselves. Indian politico-military leadership prioritised the integrity of the nation irrespective of the cost. The outlook came good in 1965. Our historical GDP and defence spending tell their own story (see graphs). In 1971, India could ill-afford a war. However, it deliberately prepared for a war thrust on it by Pakistan to create Bangladesh. The two decades that followed were very difficult economically but still saw the military continue to modernise unabatedly. Our leaders realised that everything could wait, but not the defence of the country. The trend reversed in the 90s as our economy grew by leaps and bounds. Our leaders tightened purse strings for the defence of the nation. However, under the then prevalent conditions, it was strangely considered appropriate. The trend line has continued into present times.
DEFENSE EXPENDITUREGDP GRAPH
Post-Kargil War, we reassessed our threats and our national capabilities to embark on a military modernisation drive. In 2010, Stephen Cohen’s book ‘Arming Without Aiming’ described India’s military modernisation as a haphazard military change that lacks political direction, suffers from balkanisation of military organisation and doctrine, remains limited by narrow prospective planning, and is driven by the pursuit of technology free from military-strategic objectives. It also pointed out the dysfunction in the political-military establishment concerning procurement. While issues raised by him had merit, not everything he said was correct. In the period 2000 to 2010, we were ‘arming with an aim’. We were seeking a place in the world order and power structure. We knew that to become a relevant power we had to be armed. However, we lost steam by 2014. ‘Change’ was expected and indicated when the present Government came to power in 2014. It was hoped that we would finally be ‘Armed’ to achieve our ‘Aim’. Furthermore, the present government promised us growth rates where our economy would hit the 5tn USD mark. Consistent with this ideal, our defence modernisation was put on track in the initial period till Manohar Parrikar was the RM. When he moved to Goa things slowed down considerably. Thereafter three things have now changed the equations completely: abrogation of Article 370, the coronavirus with its accompanying economic havoc, and Chinese aggression in Eastern Ladakh. Our threat matrix and global strategic posture have completely transformed. If one adds the technological disruptions, the situation is more complex and dark than ever before. In all this, our ‘aim’ as a nation has not wavered, in fact, it has gone up. Our sights are set higher. We seek global leadership. However, are we arming accordingly? We seem to be heading into a state of ‘aiming without arming’.
The Chinese threat and hostility are now palpable through their military activity and build up across the LAC. Infrastructure for the PLA and PLAAF is being put in place at a frenetic pace. Expressways and roads are being built. The PLA has even turned over two divisions in Eastern Ladakh indicating permanence in deployment. Long-range missiles have been deployed in Tibet. Border villages are being deliberately set up. Locals are being hired to form militias. The Brahmaputra is being dammed in Tibet. Nepal has been compromised in every respect to do China’s bidding. The day is not far when PLA appears in the Terai region along the UP and Bihar borders. Bhutan is being pressurised to part with Doklam completely. In essence, The LAC is being solidified as per a plan laid out by the CMC and enunciated by Xi Jinping. The Chinese threat and preparation have heightened significantly. Chinese economic and military stamina pose great challenges to India. The threat gets further elevated if one considers the collusion from Pakistan. This factor cannot be ignored. Against this steady threat enhancement, we need to examine what our response is.
Atmanirbharta was announced formally last year, though the concept of achieving self-sufficiency had been initiated in 2014 itself. However, it is floundering already. The AK 203 Rifle Factory based on Russian technology is stalled due to pricing issues. There is no alternative created. So we continue to import. A couple of years back, Artillery modernisation was touted as a success with an indigenous gun that passed all trials (Dhanush) and one in an advanced stage of development (ATAGS). If that be so, why do we have to import 400 guns from Israel? The face-off in Eastern Ladakh clearly indicated that we need a tank for high altitudes. We have a possible indigenous solution. Yet we have already started looking actively at Russia for a light tank. Have we considered the bad experience of the AK 203 rifle from Russia? Have we factored in the fallout and effect of continuing to buy Russian arms when our strategic partnership with the US is already under strain due to the S400 deal? When will we get off the Russian feeding bottle? In my opinion, it is ‘Godi Procurement’. We want to build submarines through a strategic partnership with a foreign OEM even though we have built Scorpene submarines through a similar arrangement earlier and are building a nuclear submarine indigenously. We have finally designed Tejas but are unable to ramp up production. Overall we might have had some success in building platforms but are unable to arm them. Getting the drift? I can go on.
The CDS was appointed early last year with the task of synergising the Armed Forces. It was visualised that it will lead to jointness and setting up of Theatre Commands. The experience of the high-level faceoffs with China should have helped us in taking forward our vision. However what is the result? Initially, the Navy had issues with the concept and even leaked out an official document into social media. Now the Air Force has aired reservations about theatre commands which never went away in the first place. Their apprehensions are also out on the street. A committee is now set up to chart the way forward which should have been done at the beginning itself. Theatrisation is on a rocky road. What is more worrying is that jointness has not progressed to build a formal base to pave the way for theatrisation. One cannot go without the other.
Overall our ability to meet the long term threats hinges on our capability to be Atmanirbhar in weapon procurement and transform into a joint system based on theatre commands. However, the evidence is that we are still looking to meet our immediate requirements and not investing in long term solutions. Where we have opted for the long term solution we do not seem to have the teamwork and determination to take it to its logical conclusion. The present requirement is being met through ‘urgent’ imports and even worse, through leasing. Leasing represents the worst of all evils. That is worryingly increasing in scope. The requirement is to put in hard work for the future in core weapons systems. However, a lot of effort seems to be going into the peripherals. The 20-point reforms of the MOD do not add up to combat enhancement or efficiency unless executed. The purported transformation is driven by officials who cannot differentiate between combat engineers and MES. Individuals are being christened as ‘Chota Kalams’ for non-military achievements that will not enable the armed forces to take the technological leap for future battlefields. The ideological thrust of indigenisation of military tunes will not improve our combat ability. Indiscriminate utilisation of war fighting material or arbitrary sacking of senior officers is detrimental to morale. An opaque infrastructure plan does not instil confidence. Hence all transformation plans are suspect.
The overview is that as a nation we are aiming high. No harm. We must. However, we have to match actions with words. Power still flows from the barrel of a gun! Unfortunately, we fall short there. There are a lot of talks and no action. Overall what is coming through is that the Political-Bureaucratic-Military leadership is not on the same page. Each segment of our military leadership seems to be driven by an agenda of its own. It is also clear that we do not have a national strategy or a capability development plan which is unfolding since prevarication and debate remains very high on issues that we thought were settled. To match all this, our economy is getting hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic. Very soon we will be facing the evolving situation with our residual military power without adding on to it. Overall we are in the situation in which we were in 1971. At that time the Politico-Military resolve bailed us out. I do not have the confidence to say so now since the general systemic failure during the second wave is stark and fresh in my mind. The challenge to the current Political-Bureaucratic-Military leadership is to infuse confidence in the people that they mean business and are doing enough. As a nation, we have to hunker down and meet the challenge. In my opinion, we have come to a stage where the government will have to take the call that it will do the needful to stem the Sino-Pak tide. To ‘aim’ high, we need to ‘arm’ accordingly.
Lt Gen P.R. Shankar was India’s DG Artillery. He is highly decorated and qualified with vast operational experience. He contributed significantly to the modernisation and indigenisation of Artillery. He is now a Professor in the Aerospace Dept of IIT Madras and is involved in applied research for defence technology. His other articles can be read on www.gunnersshot.com
The overview is that as a nation we are aiming high. No harm. We must. However, we have to match actions with words. Power still flows from the barrel of a gun! Unfortunately, we fall short there. There are a lot of talks and no action. Overall, what is coming through is that the Political-Bureaucratic-Military leadership is not on the same page. Each segment of our military leadership seems to be driven by an agenda of its own. It is also clear that we do not have a national strategy or a capability development plan which is unfolding since prevarication and debate remains very high on issues that we thought were settled. To match all this, our economy is getting hit badly by the coronavirus pandemic. Very soon we will be facing the evolving situation with our residual military power without adding on to it.
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UP CM INAUGURATES ISDA 2021; ALIGARH NODE OF UP DEFENCE CORRIDOR TO BE INAUGURATED BY AUGUST
The Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), in partnership with the Confederation on Indian Industry (CII) and the Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), is organizing the Indigenisation Summit on Defence and Aerospace (ISDA) 2021 from 28th to 31st July. Speaking at the Inaugural Session of ISDA 2021, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath said that the Defence corridor in UP is a greenfield project and the industries coming alongside the six nodes of the corridor can benefit immensely from the scheme by becoming part of the ecosystem. 1409 hectares of land has been earmarked under the corridor. The project proposals received so far from 54 companies would create employment of more than sixteen thousand people. He shared that development of roads, electricity, water & boundary walls are underway for the Aligarh node and the inauguration of the Aligarh node, comprising of 74 hectares of industrial land divided into 19 units is proposed in August 2021.
Sharing that 2500 crores have been earmarked by the central government for promoting investments in the defence corridors, he said that land banks were being created for zones where there is a greater demand of land for investment projects. The state government along with the Defence Ministry is also working on the establishment of labs under the Common facilitation centre, Defence testing and Infrastructure scheme which would benefit MSMEs & Start-ups in prototyping, technology training as well as design & development. The state government has also established centres of excellence at IIT Kanpur, BHU for a greater engagement between the Indian navy, industry & academia. The first instalment of the grant for research & development at these centres has already been disbursed & the second is under consideration. Awanish Awasthi, ACS-Home & CEO, UPEIDA noted that the vision of the UP government is to attain 1st position as a business destination. Speaking on the progress of the nodes of the Defence corridor, he mentioned that infrastructure development to the tune of 32 crores is underway at Aligarh and the node is expected to be ready for inauguration by August 2021.
The Kanpur node, where 25 crores has been assigned infrastructure development would also be ready in a couple of months whereas the Jhansi node work would be taken up in the next six months. Chairman ISDA 2021 & Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace Manoj Gupta remarked that a strong and empowered defence ecosystem is crucial for any country seeking to emerge as a significant global player. With the thrust provided by the ‘Make in India’ movement, today India’s exports are to the tune of ten thousand crores which was merely five hundred crores eight years back. Measures like only domestic tenders for contracts below 200 crores, increasing FDI limit in defence production from 49% to 74%, greater number of production categories, defence offset program as well as an updated DAP 2020 will further embolden the defence manufacturing in the country. He further pointed out that a higher offset for defence industries as well as a single-window system for license issuance for the defence manufacturers will go a long way in making UP a hub for defence & aerospace. Jayant Patil, President, SIDM pointed out that the reforms pertaining to the defence sector are focused on building capacity. This is evident through the 15% increase in defence budget allocation. He also highlighted that two-thirds of the defence budget is now dedicated to purchases from Indian industries, of which 20% has been reserved for MSMEs. Patil mentioned that 208 items have been moved to the positive list now hence no imports of these items would be allowed into the country to promote the Indian manufacturers. He highlighted that Indian is expected to be the security provider in the Region, for which the industry can prove to become the sixth arm of the Indian Defence system. Speaking on the occasion, Sachin Agarwal, Chairman, SIDM UP Chapter pointed out that today, close to 8000 Defence Sector MSMEs, primarily from tier 2 and tier 3 cities form the backbone and are the largest part, in terms of volume, of the Industry. He also mentioned that the industries that are bound to grow and mature in this phase of development will find that UP can provide the necessary infrastructure and support needed to augment production and services. Agarwal highlighted that the Government planning to spend $250 billion over the next 10 years for the modernization of its Forces and the Industry will have a critical role to play in meeting these demands. Ashmita Sethi, Co-Chairman, CII Northern Region Committee on Defence & Aerospace spoke about the various emerging technologies being deployed in defence manufacturing for which UP can become a potential hub. These included defence electronics, MRO facilities, space related research & development, electric military vehicles among others. Over the 3 day period, Sessions with UPEIDA, DPSUs and the Services HQs will be held to generate awareness about opportunities available for the Industry vis-a-vis Defence Manufacturing.
IAF FORMALLY INDUCTS RAFALE AIRCRAFT INTO NO. 101 SQUADRON
The Indian Air Force formally inducted Rafale aircraft into No. 101 Squadron at Air Force Station Hasimara in Eastern Air Command (EAC) on Wednesday. Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) presided over the induction ceremony. On arrival, CAS was received by Air Marshal Amit Dev, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command. The event also included a fly-past heralding the arrival of Rafale aircraft to Hasimara followed by a traditional water cannon salute.
Addressing the personnel during the induction ceremony, CAS said that the induction of Rafale had been carefully planned at Hasimara; keeping in mind the importance of strengthening IAF’s capability in the Eastern Sector. Recalling the glorious history of 101 Squadron which bestowed upon them the title of ‘Falcons of Chamb and Akhnoor’, CAS urged the personnel to combine their zeal and commitment with the unmatched potential of the newly inducted platform. He said that he had no doubt that the Squadron would dominate whenever and wherever required and ensure that the adversary would always be intimidated by their sheer presence.
101 Squadron is the second IAF Squadron to be equipped with Rafale aircraft. The Squadron was formed on 01 May 1949 at Palam and has operated Harvard, Spitfire, Vampire, Su-7 and MiG-21M aircraft in the past. The glorious history of this Squadron includes active participation in 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.
RAJNATH SINGH ADDRESSES SCO DEFENCE MINISTERS’ MEETING IN DUSHANBE ‘
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh congratulated Member-States of the SCO on successful completion of 20 years of its existence. He said that though India joined the organisation in 2017, historical and civilisational relations and geographical connects make India inseparable from the SCO. Addressing the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on Wednesday Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, Terrorism is the most serious threat to international peace and security. “Any act of terror and support to such acts, including cross border terrorism, committed by whomsoever, wherever and for whatever motives, is a crime against humanity,” he added. The Defence Minister reaffirmed India’s resolve to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Rajnath Singh emphasised, “India accords high priority to the consolidation of trust in the security domain within SCO as well as strengthening ties with SCO partners bilaterally on the basis of equality, mutual respect and understanding.” The challenge today is not just one of concepts and norms, but equally of their sincere practice, he added.
Stressing on the importance of the regional group, Rajnath Singh said, “The SCO Nations, together, encompass nearly half the human population on our planet. In terms of geography, it covers approximately three fifths of the Eurasian continent. We, therefore, have collective stakes to create a safe, secure and stable region that contributes towards progress and improvement of human development indices of our people and the generations which will follow.” He pointed out that it is in the same spirit India helps people of Afghanistan, which is facing violence and devastation over decades. So far India completed 500 projects in Afghanistan and continuing with some more with total development aid of US dollar 3 billion. Speaking about geo-strategic location of India that makes it both a Eurasian land power and also a stake-holder in the Indo-Pacific, the Defence Minister said, “Our intent and aspirations are therefore focused towards prosperity and development of the entire region. We affirm this intent through our national policy of Security and Growth for All in the Region, commonly known by the acronym SAGAR.” Security and Stability are most essential components to create conducive environment for growth and economic development of the region and of our respective Nations, he added.
Reiterating India’s resolve to work within the SCO framework for helping create and maintain a peaceful, secure and stable region, Rajnath Singh highlighted, “India also reiterate commitments to partner with fellow SCO Member-States to develop joint institutional capacities that respect individual national sensitivities and yet generate a spirit of cooperation to create contact and connectivity between people, societies and nations.” Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Defence Minister said “It has affected nations, civil societies and citizens in multiple ways. This is a warning sign of how non-traditional security challenges like pandemics, climate change, food security, water security and associated societal disruptions can impact national and international landscape.”
Rajnath Singh said the Armed Forces and the Defence Research and Development Organisation played a stellar role in efforts against Covid-19. He said, “During the global pandemic, India was able to provide support and assistance to countries around the world. This includes 6.6 crore doses of vaccines to 90 countries, support with medicine, medical consumables and equipment to 150 countries. We may mention the massive ‘Vande Bharat’ logistic service to move over 70 lakh stranded people, including foreigners, mostly by air route, but also by our ships in the Indian Ocean.”
Defence Minister assured, “India plans to produce well over 250 crore doses of vaccines between August and the end of 2021.We are determined to vaccinate at least 90 crore adult Indians and to help other friendly countries with vaccine.”
The Defence Minister called upon Member-Nations to evolve to meet the needs of its time. He said, “No institution, howsoever important, can remain frozen at the moment of its foundation. The inherent strength of SCO lies in the fact that Member-States participate in cooperation programme at their own pace and as per respective national policies. We are glad that SCO has evolved as truly an international organisation of significance.” Event of today is yet another step towards strengthening stability and security in the region. This will serve to further development of multilateral cooperation within the SCO format, he added.
INDIAN NAVY & IDFC FIRST BANK OFFER HONOUR FIRST BANKING SOLUTIONS TO NAVAL PERSONNEL
IDFC FIRST Bank announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Navy to offer Honour First, a premium banking solution, to serving personnel and veterans of the Indian Navy. Honour First is specially designed keeping in mind the needs of the Armed Forces community. It includes a zero balance salary Honour First salary account with unlimited free ATM transactions from any location, free fund transfers through IMPS, RTGS, and NEFT, free lost card liability protection and purchase protection. It has an accident insurance cover of Rs 46 lakh which include a children education grant of Rs. 4 lakh for wards of age up to 23 years and an additional Rs 2 lakh for girl child marriage cover for daughters in the age bracket of 18 years to 25 years. The MoU for Honour First was signed at the Naval Headquarters in New Delhi between Commodore Neeraj Malhotra, Commodore – Pay and Allowances, Indian Navy and Colin D’Souza, Head – Corporate Salary, IDFC First Bank.
Indian Navy is responsible to safeguard the maritime frontiers of the country including the island territories against external aggression as also assist in the safety of the world sea lanes in the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Speaking on the occasion, Amit Kumar, Head-Retail Liabilities & Branch Banking, IDFC First Bank, said, “It’s a proud moment for us. The association couldn’t have come at a better time as the Indian Navy celebrates the Golden Jubilee of the 1971 war. The Honour First solution is customised to the needs of Naval personnel and stands rooted in our customer-first and nation-first approach. We are constantly improving our offerings using state-of-the-art technology for a superior customer experience. It is a privilege for us to now serving the Indian Navy with an array of our convenient banking services, digitised financial solutions and enhanced access.” Malhotra said, “I welcome the initiative of IDFC First bank to offer customised banking solutions to suit the needs of Indian Navy and its personnel.”
FLEET AWARD CEREMONY OF WESTERN NAVAL COMMAND HELD AT MUMBAI AFTER ONE-YEAR GAP
The Fleet Award Ceremony each year marks the end of the operational cycle of the Western Fleet, the Sword Arm of the Western Naval Command. The ceremony was held at Mumbai after a gap of a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the ceremony was hosted by Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. The ceremony marked the operational achievements of the Fleet from April 2020 to March 2021. The event was attended by Flag Officers of Western Naval Command with Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command as the Chief Guest.
The ceremony hosted this year was a modest one in adherence to Covid norms. While the attendance was in limited numbers, the achievements of the Fleet were numerous as expected of the Sword Arm. A total of 20 trophies were given away covering a myriad spectrum of naval operations, safety practices and morale. INS Kolkata was awarded the ‘Best Ship’ among the capital ships for exhibiting immaculate grit whilst undertaking a plethora of maritime operations. INS Tarkash was awarded the ‘Most Spirited’ ship for an awe-inspiring display of enthusiasm and morale in all Fleet activities, exercises at sea and indomitable spirit. INS Deepak won the award of ‘Best Ship’ in the category of Tankers and OPVs.
The year covering the operational cycle from April 2020 to March 2021 was anything but ordinary. While the norm of the hour was to work from home, the Western Fleet remained mission deployed and poised for action during the challenging period last year. The Western Fleet also contributed immensely to Covid relief missions in support of the National effort to fight the pandemic. The ships and aircraft of the western fleet also undertook daring rescue operations to save innumerable lives when cyclone Tauktae struck the western coast of India. Today’s ceremony also paid a tribute to the sacrifices of the men and their families who put the call of duty before themselves for all these missions. The Sword Arm remains the first responder, operationally deployed, combat-ready and stood too.
US STATE SECRETARY BLINKEN ARRIVES IN NEW DELHI ON A TWO-DAY VISIT
The USA State Secretary Antony J. Blinken has landed in New Delhi on a two-day visit to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to strengthening Indo-US partnership and underscore cooperation on shared priorities. Secretary Blinken will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar to discuss a wide range of issues, including continued cooperation on Covid-19 response efforts, Indo-Pacific engagement, shared regional security interests, shared democratic values, and addressing the climate crisis. On Indo-US ties, Secretary Antony J. Blinken has said, “The US and India are working together on so many of the most important challenges of our time and ones that are having a profound impact on the lives of our citizens. The partnership between the US and India is vital, it’s strong, and it’s increasingly productive.”
THE INDO-PACIFIC FRONT
India is a leading global power and a key US partner in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. At the inaugural Quad Leaders’ Summit in March, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi joined their Japanese and Australian counterparts in pledging to respond to the economic and health impacts of Covid-19, combat the climate crisis, and address shared challenges, including in cyber-space, critical technologies, counterterrorism, quality infrastructure investment, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maritime security.
DETERRING ADVERSARIES AND DEFENDING INTERESTS
US-India defence cooperation is reaching new heights, including through information sharing, liaison officers, increasingly complex exercises like Malabar, and defence enabling agreements, such as the secure communications agreement COMCASA. As of 2020, the US has authorised over $20 billion in defence sales to India. Through the US-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative, the US and India work together on co-production and co-development of defence equipment. The US and India are also closely coordinating on regional security issues, such as Afghanistan.
STRENGTHENING THE US-INDIA PARTNERSHIP
The US and India have a strong strategic partnership founded on shared values and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region. The US has supported India’s emergence as a leading global power and vital partner in efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity and economic inclusion. The US and India cooperate on a wide range of diplomatic, economic and security issues, including defence, non-proliferation, regional cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, shared democratic values, counterterrorism, climate change, health, energy, trade and investment, peacekeeping, the environment, education, science and technology, agriculture, space, and oceans. In 2008, the US and India signed an agreement, making India a full partner in the governance and funding of the Fulbright Program. An increase in exchanges under the agreement has allowed for the development of new and innovative programs, and India now has the largest Fulbright Scholar (faculty) program in the world. In FY 2019, this funding provided opportunities for 61 U.S. Scholars, 66 Indian Scholars, 80 US students, including 29 English Teaching Assistants, and 55 Indian students, including 13 Foreign Language Teaching Assistants. The US and India are working to expand cooperation in international organisations. The US welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in January 2021 for a two-year term. In October 2020, India hosted the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, and the US looks forward to the next 2+2 later this year.
COMBATING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The US has contributed more than $200 million to India’s Covid-19 relief and response efforts since the pandemic began, including more than $50 million in emergency supplies and training for more than 218,000 frontline health workers on infection prevention and control, benefitting more than 43 million Indians. Earlier this year, the US and India initiated the renewal of a memorandum of understanding to collaborate through an International Center of Excellence in Research focused on infectious diseases, including Covid-19 and other emerging threats. The US and India are partnering to strengthen the global response to Covid-19, on issues ranging from addressing infectious disease outbreaks to strengthening health systems to securing global supply chains. The US pharmaceutical companies have coordinated with Indian companies since the beginning of the pandemic. This cooperation includes voluntary licensing and technology transfer agreements to increase global manufacturing capacity for Covid-19 vaccines, therapies, and conducting clinical trials.
TACKLING CLIMATE CRISIS
The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry travelled to India in April of this year and met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They discussed the importance of two of the world’s largest economies leading together to address the climate crisis. At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April, President Biden and Prime Minister Modi launched the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership to strengthen cooperation on strong actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and to help each country achieve its respective climate and clean energy goals. Under the new Agenda 2030 Partnership, the US and India look forward to launching the new Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue, led by Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, and relaunching the Strategic Clean Energy Partnership, led by Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, later this year. The US looks forward to furthering cooperation with India on tackling the climate crisis and rising global ambition ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, UK, in November.
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