Prime Minister Modi’s independent foreign policy led the world to look to India as a trusted partner: Ashwini Vaishnaw

In response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official state visit to the US, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the Prime Minister’s efforts to establish an independent foreign policy had led the world to perceive India as a trusted partner.

“Over the past nine years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to pursue an independent foreign policy that matters to the national interest has led the world to view India as a trusted partner,” Ashwini Vaishnaw said. The Union Minister also said that due to the expansion of India’s economy and technology development that has taken place in the country over the past nine years, the world now sees India as a trusted partner in the supply chain.

“Over the past nine years, India’s economy has grown from the 10th largest to the 5th largest in the world and technology has evolved along with it. Therefore, India is recognized globally as a trusted supply chain partner, value chain partner and strategic partner,” said Ashwini Vaishnaw. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently on his sixth and first state visit to the United States.

A “state visit” has a special meaning compared to other foreign visits as it is a formal visit by the Head of State to a foreign country at the invitation of the Head of State receiving him.

The visit is the highest expression of friendly bilateral relations between two sovereign nations. Also, during a state visit, the inviting head of state acts as the official host of the visiting head of state throughout the trip. Numerous defense agreements were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit.

India has signed a mega deal with General Atomics to procure Predator drones. The pact will allow US Navy ships to carry out major repairs at Indian shipyards. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed India’s plans to procure General Atomics’ MQ-9B HALE UAVs. The Indian-assembled MQ-9Bs will enhance the Indian Armed Forces’ ISR capabilities across the board. As part of this plan, General Atomics will also establish a comprehensive global MRO facility in India, the US-India joint statement said.

It would fundamentally transform India’s defense manufacturing capabilities. The only countries currently capable of producing their own engines are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom and France. This is indeed a roadmap for a very promising and mutually enriching defense partnership, with much more to come. The two sides may sign an agreement for a five-year deal to purchase General Atomics’ MQ-9B Predator armed drones.

India had leased back in 2020, at the height of China’s aggressive tactics towards LOAC and an attempt to “salami-slice” Indian territory.

The sale of armed drones to India had been authorized by the Trump administration in early 2018, the first time such authorization had been granted to a non-NATO ally. The MQ-9B will bolster India’s defenses against China, allowing it to monitor Chinese troop movements and enhancing its naval surveillance capabilities to track Chinese naval activities in the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific.

The Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies (iCET), launched in 2022, will be further advanced during this visit.

On January 23, the National Security Advisers of India and the US held the opening session of the dialogue in Washington, where they announced initiatives to expand cooperation on strategic technologies and defense industrial production.

They committed to new partnerships and collaborations in the fields of AI, quantum computing and advanced wireless communications, including deploying and launching “Open RAN” in India, and connecting defense start-ups to drive defense innovation.

Washington also committed to lowering barriers to US exports of high-performance computing technology and source code to India.

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