The U.S.– India Defense Policy Group (DPG) met Aug. 6-7, 2003 in Washington, D.C. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith hosted the meeting and Defence Secretary Ajay Prasad led the Indian delegation.
The strategic situation in the world has changed dramatically in recent years. Global terrorism, state sponsors of terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are the key threats to international peace and security. The U.S. and India are drawn together in an effort to deal with these new circumstances. As a result, President Bush and Prime Minister Vajpayee have re-defined the U.S-India relationship: democracy, common principles, and shared interest are the foundation of our new strategic partnership.
Since the last meeting of the DPG in May 2002, the U.S. and Indian defense establishments have continued to expand cooperation. The past year’s accomplishments include:
- Combined special forces counterinsurgency exercise in Northeast India;
- Combined Air Force exercise in Alaska;
- Complex naval exercises on the East Coast of India;
- Delivery of "Firefinder" radars to India;
- Senior-level missile defense talks; and
- Conclusion of a master information exchange agreement to facilitate cooperation in research and development of defense technologies
During this year’s DPG, the delegations emphasized the long-range strategic concepts that guide the new approach to the U.S.-India relationship. They agreed that the work of the two countries together during the past year and planned activities for the next year are translating that strategic vision into action.
The delegations discussed the threat posed by the proliferation of weapons and technologies of mass destruction, including the risk that terrorists will acquire such weapons. They also discussed measures to combat proliferation.
The two sides agreed to establish a high-level dialogue on defense technology security issues.
The two sides reaffirmed the shared view that missile defense enhances cooperative security and stability. They decided to hold a missile defense workshop in India in the next six months as a follow-on to an international workshop attended by U.S. and Indian delegations at the June 2003 Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense Conference held in Kyoto, Japan. The Indian delegation also accepted invitations to the July 2004 Multinational Ballistic Missile Defense Conference in Berlin and the 2005 Roving Sands Missile Defense Exercise.
The two sides welcomed the improved prospects for freedom and security in the Middle East. They underlined their commitment to furthering stability and security for the people of Iraq and the contribution that international cooperation could make to that process. They agreed to continue to seek ways for the United States and India to work together to support the people of Iraq. They also welcomed the establishment of Iraq’s Governing Council and noted the important role of the U.N. Special Representative in addressing the needs of the Iraqi people.
They discussed the success of Operation Enduring Freedom and reaffirmed the ongoing commitment of both countries to the future of Afghanistan. They agreed that a permanent end to terrorism is critical to ensuring a future of peace and stability in South Asia.
The U.S. and India have continued to work together to enhance their capabilities to combat terrorism and increase interoperability. The two delegations highlighted the importance of the ongoing series of joint and combined exercises in building interoperability between U.S. and India armed forces and agreed to continue this interaction. They also agreed to continue to review counter terrorism equipment requirements for India’s special operations forces.
The two delegations welcomed the reports on the recent meetings of the Military Cooperation Group (coordinating military exercises and exchanges), Security Cooperation Group (coordinating sales and licensing), and Joint Technical Group (coordinating research and development). These groups will meet again in the coming months.
In addition to the areas above, the two delegations approved a range of activities for the coming year, including:
- Specialized training programs and joint exercises to be carried out by the armed services of the two countries, including an air combat training exercise.
- India will host in coordination with the U.S. a multinational planning exercise to develop standard operating procedures.
- Continued development of a defense supply relationship, through the Government-to-Government Foreign Military Sales program. A U.S. team will travel to India in September to discuss the details of a possible sales of P-3 maritime patrol aircraft.
- U.S. sale to India of training materials and specialized equipment to support India’s peacekeeping training capabilities.
- A Defense Planning Exchange to permit U.S. and Indian defence experts to conduct discussions on defense strategy and planning.
Secretary Prasad also met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers. These meetings emphasized the importance both sides place on the growing bilateral relationship.
Next year, the DPG will hold its meeting in New Delhi.