Taking India-US defence cooperation to the next level, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar is set to to sign a key logistics agreement this week which will enable both militaries to use each other's assets and bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. According to a report in The Indian Express, Parrikar will also push for armed drones technology.
On 31 July, Parrikar will visit a Boeing facility in Philadelphia where the CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters are manufactured, reported Hindustan Times. Indian Air Force is set to induct the Chinooks by 2019.
The Chinooks are set to bridge the gap in IAFs heavy-lift capabilities as the old Mi-26 choppers are phasing out, the report said.
“Given our deployments in mountains and remote areas, the heavy-lift chopper becomes ever so important for moving troops, equipment and artillery.” Air Chief Marshal Fali Major (retired) told Hindustan Times.
Parrikar, who left for the US on Sunday, will meet his American counterpart Defence Secretary Ashton Carter and carry forward talks on jet engine technology and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Parrikar will also discuss Pakistan's reluctance to act against Lakshar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad and its support to militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir, The Indian Express report said.
"This will be Carter's sixth meeting with Parrikar, and comes just weeks after India was designated a major defence partner of the United States during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's June visit to Washington," the Pentagon had said on 26 July.
One of the key takeaways from the visit would be signing of the agreement called the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA).
The agreement was announced during the visit of Carter to India in April this year.
The move will allow both countries to use each other's bases as well as assets for replenishment of supplies and refuelling.
However, it will not allow stationing of troops in each other's bases.
Parrikar will also visit the Cyber Command, 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon, the Langley Air Force Base and Andrews Air Force Base during his three-day visit to the US, The Indian Express report added.
With Inputs from PTI