Will be attending a briefing tomorrow morning by US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, Michèle Flournoy, visiting Delhi to push forward Indo-US defence cooperation. She arrived in the city after giving the Pakistan Army a rousing round of encouragement in Islamabad two days ago. "There's no doubt about Pakistan's commitment to the war on terror," she said there. Flournoy is part of what is likely to be one unending barrage of high-level visits to India ahead of President Obama's in November. The US is working hard to (a) get the contentious CISMOA/LSA/BECA troika of agreements concluded, and (b) finish up all the paperwork for at least one big deal that could be signed during President Obama's visit. Sources say, this could either be the deal for 10 C-17 heavy transports (in the bag, for all practical purposes) or the follow-on deal for six more C-130Js (also in the bag, for all practical purposes). Other high-value deals awaiting decisions or in process of evaluations, apart from the MMRCA, include ultralight howitzers, attack and heavylift rotorcraft and the re-engining bid for the IAF Jaguar fleet. Hope she says more than the last couple of American babus who came. Stay tuned.
[UPDATE@1420HRS] The briefing yielded little. When asked about the troika of agreements pending, Flournoy said, "The agreements are not a requirement for defence trade, but are necessary if defence trade is to be taken to the next level." She also said the US was "mindful" of India's concerns about the supply of conventional weaponry to Pakistan.
Labels: DEFENCE PROCUREMENTS, Diplomacy, Government-Policy-Politics, Pakistan-Related, Personalities, UNITED STATES-RELATED