The U.S.-India Defense Policy Group (DPG) met May 20-23, 2002 in Washington, D.C. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith hosted the meeting and Defence Secretary Dr. Yogendra Narain led the Indian delegation.
In the past year, guided by direction from Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Bush, India and the United States have charted a new course in their bilateral relationship. This course reflects appreciation on both sides of the importance of the U.S.-India relationship in building stability and security in Asia and beyond. This new course entails rapid growth in cooperation on defense and security matters. In a matter of months, the U.S. and India defense establishments have translated the broad vision for the relationship into action. No fewer than a dozen separate groups have met to map out a purposeful path for the U.S.-India defense relationship.
The DPG last met in December 2001. A second meeting within six months reflects the ambitious agenda agreed to in December to accelerate the pace of U.S-India defense cooperation. At the December DPG, both sides set out to accomplish something significant. They have achieved results. These include:
- combined naval patrols in the Strait of Malacca.
- resumption of defense trade, beginning with the "Firefinder" radar sale.
- combined special forces airborne exercises in Agra, India.
- U.S.-India Ballistic Missile Defense workshop in Colorado Springs, Colo.
- signing of a General Security of Military Information Agreement to facilitate cooperation in defense technology.
These activities are a practical implementation of the ideas developed during the last DPG.
The two sides emphasized the importance of the DPG and other bilateral exchanges in coordinating approaches to security issues in Asia and beyond. They discussed a broad range of such issues, including how to enhance prospects for peace and stability in Asia, strengthen counter-terrorism efforts, and improve the security environment in Afghanistan, including reconstruction efforts and building the Afghan National Army.
They reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. To this end, the two sides agreed to hold further consultations in the coming weeks on the threat such proliferation poses to their common security interests.
The two sides reaffirmed the contribution that missile defenses can make to enhance cooperative security and stability. They decided to hold a future missile defense workshop in New Delhi and agreed on the value of pursuing a missile defense requirements analysis for India. The Indian delegation accepted invitations to the June 2002 missile defense conference in Dallas, Tex., and the June 2003 Roving Sands missile defense exercise.
They agreed that terrorism and state support for terrorism remains a major threat to the security of their two countries. In this context, they noted the success of Operation Enduring Freedom and the broader war on terrorism, and condemned the recent upsurge in terrorist attacks against India. They agreed that an end to terrorism is critical to ensuring a future of peace and stability in South Asia and around the world. They also reiterated their determination to continue the task of eliminating al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations and entities.
The United States and India have demonstrated progress in military cooperation aimed at enhancing mutual capabilities in combating terrorism, including joint research and development of technologies for meeting this threat. They highlighted the importance of the ongoing special operations airborne exercise in building interoperability between U.S. and Indian armed forces, and agreed to conduct further exercises. The two sides agreed that in the coming weeks their representatives would address counterterrorism equipment requirements for India's special operations forces.
The two delegations approved a range of activities proposed by DPG subgroups responsible for plans for cooperation, including:
Specialized training programs and joint exercises to be carried out by the armed services of the two countries during the next year.
Developing a defense supply relationship, including through the government-to-government Foreign Military Sales program. The two delegations agreed on the need to work closely for speedier approvals of export licences in the United States.
Resumption of technical cooperation in defense research, development and production, following the meeting of the Joint Technical Group in New Delhi in early March.
They also noted shared interest in continued cooperation in and support for UN peacekeeping operations. India has accepted the U.S. invitation to participate in the multinational peace operations exercise in Bangladesh in September 2002 and has agreed to co-host, with the U.S. Pacific Command, a peacekeeping command post exercise to be held in New Delhi in early 2003. The sides agreed that peacekeeping and coalition operations are important tools to enhance stability around the world. In this context, they discussed the negative impact of an International Criminal Court (ICC) on such operations. They agreed on the serious inadequacies of the ICC and underlined the importance of cooperation between the U.S. and India to oppose its applicability to non-parties, as such applicability would be an assertion of jurisdiction beyond the limits of international law.
In addition to the areas of cooperation outlined above, the DPG has set a course for cooperation in additional areas, including consequence management in response to weapons of mass destruction, humanitarian relief, cyberterrorism, and environmental security.
Secretary Narain also called on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers, and Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Stephen Hadley. These meetings reflected the emphasis both sides place on the growing bilateral defense relationship.
The two delegations agreed to hold the next meeting of the DPG in New Delhi in early February 2003.