US, India navies meet over aircraft carrier cooperation

New Delhi, Aug 15 (IANS) In a sign of deepening US-India defence ties, the US Navy hosted a delegation of Indian naval officers for the inaugural Joint Working Group on Aircraft Carrier Technology Cooperation on the US eastern coast during August 12-14.

During the three-day visit, the Indian delegation led by Vice Admiral S.P.S. Cheema, commanding-in-chief of the Western Naval Command, visited the US Navy’s state-of-the-art aircraft carrier PCU Gerald Ford, currently under construction at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.

The Indian delegation received briefs on US Navy management of aircraft carrier programmes, met senior Pentagon officials, and toured the US Navy’s research and development facilities for aircraft carrier launch and recovery systems as a first step to exploring opportunities for cooperation, said a US embassy press release.

During the working group, the US and Indian navies held candid and open discussions on various aspects of aircraft carrier development, including design, integration, test, evaluation, management and oversight of carrier construction.

The joint working group, co-chaired by the US Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers, Rear Admiral Tom Moore, and India’s Controller for Warship Production and Acquisition, Vice Admiral G.S. Pabby, is part of the larger India-US Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI).

The intent of DTTI is to reduce procedural obstacles in both the US government and the Indian government’s defence establishments in order to facilitate broader cooperation in defence production as a component of the strategic partnership.

India’s defence ministry identified aircraft carrier technology as one of the topics of interest to pursue under DTTI.

Building on a highly successful first meeting, the working group is looking forward to setting a meeting agenda for the next working group to be held in India early next year, it said.

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