Austin lauds India ties, calls jet engine deal revolutionary

The landmark jet engine deal was revealed in June of last year, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic official state visit to the US….reports Asian Lite News

Lauding the partnership with India, the United States Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, has said that the deal between the two nations to produce jet weapons in collaboration is revolutionary.

Underscoring that India and the US are also co-producing an armoured vehicle, Austin said that such joint ventures will provide great capabilities.

The landmark jet engine deal was revealed in June of last year, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s historic official state visit to the US. To produce fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force, General Electric and Hindustan Aeronautics signed a memorandum of understanding.

Austin’s remarks came as he testified before the Senate panel on the 2025 budget on Wednesday (local time).

“We have a great relationship with India. We recently have enabled India to produce jet weapons in India. That is kind of revolutionary. That will provide great capabilities to them. We are also co-producing an armoured vehicle. All of these things when you add them up, are probably more than what we have seen in half of that region in a very long time,” Austin told lawmakers.

He stated that all of this “promotes interoperability.”

“They all promote helping increase our ability to respond to a number of different things. Again, these are meaningful things that most of us are not aware of. We have made tremendous progress, and we will continue to do so,” he added.

Earlier in 2023, US General Electric (US GE) announced that it had inked an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the government’s aerospace and defence manufacturing firm, to jointly manufacture engines in India to power fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

Moreover, the Biden Administration notified the US Congress in February this year, of its intent to sell nearly 4 billion dollars worth of arms, comprising mainly of the MQ 9 B Drones armed with Hellfire missiles.

The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, which is an agency within the US Department of Defence, said in a press release that the sale helps strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.

It added that New Delhi continues to be an “important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.”ment includes the potential joint production of GE Aerospace’s F414 engines in India.

Support UN reforms: US on Musk’s India remark

The US has offered support for reforms to United Nations institutions, including the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), US State Department Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a press briefing on Wednesday.

When asked about Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s statement regarding India’s lack of a permanent seat at the UNSC, Vedant Patel said, “The President has spoken about this before in his remarks to the UN General Assembly, and the Secretary has alluded to this as well. We certainly support reforms to the UN institution, including the Security Council, to make it reflective of the 21st-century world that we live in. I don’t have any specifics to offer on what those steps are, but certainly, we recognise that there is a need for reform, but I will leave it at that for now.”

In January, Elon Musk called India not having a permanent seat in the UNSC as ‘absurd.’ He said that nations with excess power don’t want to relinquish it.

In a post on X, Musk said, “At some point, there needs to be a revision of the UN bodies. Problem is that those with excess power don’t want to give it up. India not having a permanent seat on the Security Council, despite being the most populous country on Earth, is absurd. Africa collectively should also have a permanent seat imo.”

India has long sought a permanent seat on the Security Council to better represent the interests of the developing world. The nation’s quest has gained momentum with support from the international community.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is composed of 15 member states, including five permanent members with veto power and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms.

The five permanent members of the UNSC include China, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the United States. The non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are elected for 2-year terms by the UNGA.

Ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in its election manifesto titled ‘Sankalp Patra’, vowed to pursue permanent membership for the country in the United Nations Security Council.

In its manifesto released on April 14, the BJP stated, “We are committed to seeking permanent membership in the UN Security Council to elevate Bharat’s position in global decision-making.”

Earlier in January, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stressed growing global support for India’s permanent membership at the United Nations Security Council and said that sometimes things are not given generously, and one has to seize them.

“With each passing year, the feeling in the world is that India should be there, and I can feel that support…The world does not give things easily and generously; sometimes you have to take them,” the EAM said while responding to a question about a permanent seat for India at the UNSC. He made the remarks at ‘Manthan’: Townhall meeting in Maharashtra’s Nagpur. (ANI)

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