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India, US to form industrial working group

India and the United States are to establish a new forum to deepen defence technology and industrial co-operation.

The plan to set up the Indo-US Industrial Security Joint Working Group was announced following five days of bilateral defence industry talks in New Delhi.

India's Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the proposed joint working group will seek to align ā€œpolicies and proceduresā€ in India and the US to ā€œallow the defence industries to collaborate on cutting-edge defence technologiesā€.

The MoD added that the working group will also support the introduction of a ā€œroadmapā€ through which India and the US will implement the ā€˜Industrial Security Annex' (ISA) that they signed in December 2019.

The MoD said the five-day talks were aimed at ā€œdeveloping protocolā€ for the two countries' defence industries to exchange classified information: a element under the ISA.

The ISA, which was the subject of negotiations between the US and India for several years, is intended to allow the US government and US companies to share classified technological information and data with private Indian companies.

The ISA and the new industrial working group are intended to channel opportunities through the India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), which was established in 2012 to support defence industrial partnerships between the two countries.

Under the DTTI, the US and India have established a series of projects under working groups for land, naval, air, and aircraft carrier technologies.

In late July the two countries also signed an agreement to jointly develop an air-launched unmanned aerial vehicle. According to the Indian MoD, this project is valued at USD22 million.

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