Since 2016, there is a clear upward trend in attempts to augment cooperation in the area of defence industry also. In Nov 2016, Tata Motors signed an MoU with PT Pindad (a Defence PSU) for exploring areas for cooperation in joint design, production and marketing of military vehicles. Trials of Tata trucks for the Indonesian Navy Marine Corp were undertaken and the Indonesian police placed an initial order for 05 trucks for riot control. Business-to-business meetings were held adjunct to the 5th JDCC in Jan 2017 at Jakarta, followed by a visit of Indian defence industry representatives to Indonesian defence industries at Bandung. On 28 May 2018 M/s Bhukhanvala signed an MoU with PT Pindad for use of its armour protection ceramics on the APC produced by PT Pindad. During the 6th JDCC held at New Delhi, additional defence industry interactions were held and scope of cooperation between M/s Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Pt LEN, in the area of defence electronics systems was discussed.
Earlier Ministerial level discussions were also held across 2018 and 2019 on augmenting defence industry cooperation although no contractual matters could be concluded. This agenda received a new fillip in 2020 with the Deputy Defence Minister’s visit to Def Expo at Lucknow in Feb 2020 followed by the Defence Minister’s visit to New Delhi in July 2020. Some key areas of cooperation have been identified and are currently being worked upon by concerned parties.
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India and Indonesia are committed to strengthening the architecture of their defence relationship by holding regular sessions of Defence Ministers’ dialogues, joint exercises and joint defence cooperation committees which would pave the way for a new thrust for security partnership in the future.
Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury is the Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Economic Times, India’s leading financial daily.