India and the U.S. have agreed to cooperate on space situational awareness, which the United States Department of Defense said would “lay the groundwork for more advanced cooperation in space.”
On April 11, the agreement was reached by officials of the two countries on the sidelines of the United States – India 2+2 ministerial dialogue in Washington, co-hosted by United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the Secretary of State Tony Blinken.
“The four leaders committed to deepening cooperation in new defense domains, such as space and cyberspace, as the U.S. and Indian militaries jointly meet the challenges of this century,” the U.S. Department of Defense said in an April 11 statement. “The United States and India signed a Space Situational Awareness arrangement, which lays the groundwork for more advanced cooperation in space.”
According to the statement, the U.S. and India also agreed to launch an inaugural Defense Artificial Intelligence Dialogue while expanding joint cyber training and exercises.
“This [agreement] will support greater information sharing and cooperation in space,” Austin told reporters following the meeting, according to the Indian newspaper The Indian Express. “We’re also deepening our cooperation in cyberspace, including training and exercises later this year. And we’re expanding our information sharing partnership across all warfighting domains.”
Austin said the two countries will “launch new defense space exchanges later this year between the U.S. Space Command and India’s Defense Space Agency.”
Rajnath Singh, India’s Defense Minister, hoped this comprehensive partnership would boost Indian defense companies.
“I shared India’s desire to take this partnership towards co-development and co-production with U.S. companies,” the minister said in an April 12 statement. “We called for increased investments by U.S. defense companies in India under the ‘Make in India’ program. Participation of U.S. entities in industrial collaboration and partnership in research and development will be critical for success of India’s ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ [self-reliant] campaigns.”