India and the United States are set to unveil defense and technology deals, including the purchase of American spy drones during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Washington on Thursday.
India’s deal to buy MQ-9B SeaGuardian armed drones, which are produced by General Atomics, will come as Modi becomes only the third world leader to pay a state visit to the United States since joining in office for President Joe Biden in 2021.
The executives will also announce that memory chip maker Micron will open a $2.75 billion semiconductor assembly and test facility in India, which will include an $800 million investment from the US company. .
“After years of strengthening ties in a bipartisan context, the US-India partnership is deeper and broader than . . . ever,” a senior US official said.
Biden and Modi will also sign a deal that will allow General Electric to co-produce fighter jet engines in India, which a second senior US official called a “pioneering move”.
The agreements, which also include efforts to boost cooperation in space, mark a big push by the United States to pull India into its orbit as part of a strategy to work with allies and partners to counter China.
Since taking office, Biden has invested in strengthening defense and security cooperation with New Delhi, including resuscitating the “Quad” security group that includes India, Japan and Australia.
While India maintains a non-aligned foreign policy, it has moved closer to the United States amid rising tensions with China.
India and China have an unresolved dispute along their nearly 3,500 km border, which last escalated into violence in May 2020 when Chinese and Indian troops clashed in the Galwan Valley, resulting in the death of 24 soldiers from both armies. Each side has since maintained about 60,000 troops near the border.
US officials say the clashes have made India more willing to partner with Washington. Drones would allow India to significantly improve its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, the second US official said.
A US defense official said this week that the security agreements would enhance interoperability between the US and Indian armies.
The first senior official said countries were working more closely on maritime and other contingencies. “We plan more together (and) train more together,” the official said. “We engage in a variety of storyline development and. . . you will see that cooperation will extend more and more not only to the Indian Ocean but to the Pacific Ocean.
After arriving in Washington on Wednesday, Modi, who had dinner with Biden that day, will meet the US president again on Thursday before addressing a joint session of Congress – becoming one of the few world leaders to do so. do more than once.
Biden has come under fire for granting a state visit to Modi, given critics’ accusations that India’s democracy is threatened by pressure on free speech and incitement to violence against Muslim and Christian minorities .
The US official said Biden would approach human rights discussions with “some humility” and would not engage in “harassment, lecturing or scolding”.
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