$4.4 bn deal for Indian Air Force to acquire ten C-17 Globemaster aircraft

Washington, Oct 4, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) The United States and India are working on a $4.4 billion deal for the Indian Air Force to acquire ten C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft ahead of President Barack Obama’s visit to India, according to a senior US official. The deal could potentially create up to 30,000 jobs in the US.

The possible deal was cited as an example of agreements envisioned by Obama for India-US partnership by Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake at the 27th Annual Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Lecture at San Diego State University, California.

‘Obama envisions a partnership with India where businesses create new wealth with job opportunities for the peoples of both countries, where scientists can develop jointly new drugs to combat global diseases, and where our militaries can work to protect global sea lanes from piracy,’ he said.

As India emerges as a global player, it seeks to build a 21st century military with the latest cutting-edge technology, Blake said noting ‘Instead of relying on its historical partner Russia for hardware, it has started to look to the US.’

Often referred to as the ‘workhorse of the US military’ the Globemaster transport aircraft will boost India’s strategic airlift capabilities, improving its ability to respond to military and humanitarian crises in India and around the globe, he said.

This $4.4 billion deal could create up to 30,000 jobs in the US and would be particularly important for Southern California as the assembly line for these colossal aircraft is located in Long Beach, officials said.

San Diego-based M Ship, a small, but very innovative naval architecture and technology firm has reached out to begin ‘preliminary work’ with a Hyderabad-based company to find new building materials, he said. This could enable further US-India collaboration in M Ship’s building and design endeavours.

Another San Diego-based company Qualcomm has made enormous strides in integrating itself into the Indian marketplace, creating jobs in the San Diego area and setting itself up to be a leader in wireless services in India, Blake said. It will partner with two Indian-based telecommunication firms to provide exceptional mobile broadband coverage for millions of Indians.

Other strong San Diego business linkages include Amylin Pharmaceuticals which has partnered with Bangalore-based Biocon, India’s largest biotech firm, to develop a new diabetes drug.

Amylin would contribute technology capable of combining two hormones into a single drug, while Biocon will manufacture the product and offer development expertise, and the companies will share development costs.

Yet another example of a San Diego-area company that has forged a partnership with India is the firm International Stem Cells, based in Oceanside. They have partnered with a Hyderabad-based biomedical company to develop pharmaceuticals.

‘No longer are US-India business ties a ‘one way street,” Blake said citing a recent study by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

It showed that Indian firms are investing almost as much in the US as their American counterparts are in India,’ he said giving the examples of Mahindra Group’s tractor units in Texas, Tennessee, and California and Reliance Industries’ plans to explore for and develop shale gas in the US.

A new poll conducted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs also shows that Americans have an increasingly favourable view of India, and Americans increasingly favour a free trade agreement with India, a figure that has risen 9 percentage points in just four years.

Blake predicted that ‘this positive sentiment will only continue to rise, as both Americans and Indians see the huge and growing synergies between the United States and India.’

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at arun.kumar@ians.in)

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