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GE, HAL partner To Produce Drones In India

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General Electric partners with Hindustan Aeronautics to co-produce GE F414 engines and 31 MQ-9B drones in India, enhancing defence capabilities in a USD 4 billion deal.

New Delhi’s acquisition of 31 state-of-the-art MQ-9B Sky Guardian drones from the US-based General Electric Aerospace marks a significant technological leap. The plan to jointly manufacture Stryker infantry combat vehicle and co-produce GE F414 engines for future fighter jets with GE and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd further underscores the technological advancements in this deal, propelling India’s defence capabilities and ensuring a 16-fold increase in the number of aircraft.

The joint fact sheet released by India and the US highlights the progress on the MQ-9B acquisition and other defence cooperation sectors. Notable points include:

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  • Significant funding commitments.
  • NASA-ISRO collaboration.
  • Defence space technology.
  • Telecommunications advances.
  • Semiconductor partnerships.
  • Quantum and AI cooperation.

This comprehensive overview and the USD 4 billion drone deal underscores the strengthening of defence ties and the boost to India’s defence capabilities, ensuring a 16-fold increase in aircraft and significantly enhancing New Delhi’s maritime security beyond the current lease agreement.

The fact sheet also underscores the deepening cooperation between the US Defense Innovation Unit and India’s Innovations for Defense Excellence, which aims to accelerate the joint adoption of cutting-edge commercial technologies for military solutions. 

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his US counterpart Jake Sullivan chaired the second meeting of the India-US initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (CET) in New Delhi, setting the vision for the next chapter of the strategic technology partnership. 

They emphasize breakthrough achievements in priority critical and emerging technology areas, focusing on co-production, co-development, and research and development opportunities.

Since the launch of iCET in January 2023, significant strides have been made toward deepening and expanding strategic cooperation across key technology sectors, including space, semiconductors, advanced telecommunications, artificial intelligence, quantum, biotechnology, and clean energy. 

The leaders welcomed the inaugural meeting of the India-US-ROK Trilateral Technology Dialogue held in Seoul and ongoing cooperation with Australia and Japan through the Quad. They underscore the importance of adapting technology protection toolkits to prevent the leakage of sensitive and dual-use technologies to countries of concern.

NSA Doval and Sullivan commit to addressing long-standing barriers to bilateral strategic trade, technology, and industrial cooperation, including in the commercial and civil space sector. They note progress under the Strategic Trade Dialogue, which convened last June D.C.Washington, D.C., and through an iCET intersessional review meeting held in New Delhi by the Deputy National Security Advisors in December 2023.

The leaders also convened an industry roundtable with CEOs and thought leaders from both countries to mobilize private sector investment and partnerships across strategic technology sectors. The continued efforts aim to address outstanding barriers to technology collaboration and further boost India-US ties.

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