U.K. preparing govt-to-govt framework for defence deals, says official
Jan. 18, 2020
Proposal will soon be presented to Union government
The U.K. government is working on a government-to-government framework for defence deals in future, given India’s preference for such deals, Brig. Gavin Thompson, U.K. Defence Adviser in India, said on Friday.
“We have worked very hard since April last year to get all departments in U.K. to get this mechanism. We are at a point where we can send this proposal to the Indian government,” Brig. Thompson said. The mechanism needed to be agreed by both sides, he stated.
However, unlike the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route of the U.S. government where the government charges a small service charge, Brig. Thompson said there were no overheads built into the contract. “It is a lighter model,” he stated, adding the U.K. presently did not have such a mechanism.
In the last few years, India had concluded multi-billion dollar deals through the inter-governmental route for Rafale jets, S-400 air defence systems and stealth frigates, among others.
During Aero India at Bengaluru last year, the U.K. made a pitch to India for collaboration in the areas of aircraft carriers and development of sixth-generation fighter aircraft technologies. In this regard, Brig. Thompson said that the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers were 30% of the cost of the U.S. carriers, provided 60% of the sortie rate and required only 25% of the manning compared to U.S. carriers.
There is also interest in the Indian Navy on the U.K.’s progress in integrated electric-propulsion and have exchanged subject matter experts. Recently, HMS Defender, a Type 45 destroyer, was in Goa and 27 Indian Navy officers went on board and had interactions, the Defence Adviser stated.
There are three Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between the U.K. and India lined up, said Dominic Beales, Defence and Security Organisation in India. While Defence Equipment Memorandum (DEM) was signed in April last year renewing an earlier agreement, the Logistics MoU has been discussed with Indian officials and “is about to formally enter the Indian system, and the Training MOU is in progress,” he stated. “We are looking at collaboration, for co-development and co-IP sharing and exports,” Mr. Beales added.
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