New Delhi, Sept. 27: The head of the British armaments export agency, Defence Export Services Organisation, Alan Garwood, will be here tomorrow to initiate talks on a range of military equipment that India is negotiating with the UK. The British military is also interacting closely with the triservice set up in the Indian defence establishment, the Integrated Defence Staff and is sharing experiences on procurement processes and logistics support. Last month, Indian curry and pulao made it to the British army's menu.
India-UK defence trade recorded a quantum jump this year with the signing of the contract for the British Aerospace Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers. Garwood, who will meet officials in the ministry of defence and in the armed forces, is expected to take talks on other military hardware further. Among the equipment are:
- Personnel-locating beacons for the air force (that will make detection of fallen
aircraft easier. This is an equipment the IAF has been looking for since two MiG-21
aircraft went missing during training sorties in the Northeast last year)
- Hand-held chemical agent detectors for the army
- Ejector seats for IAF aircraft
- Remote-controlled vehicles
- Air-to-air refuelling probes for Sukhoi 30 aircraft
- Mine ploughs for army vehicles
The British military industry is also keen on beginning talks on ship design management systems and combat management systems for Indian Navy frigates. The contract for the British Hawk has made the UK the third largest military equipment supplier to the Indian armed forces after the former Soviet Bloc countries and Israel.
The two militaries are also holding planning conferences for the command post exercise to be held early next year called Emerald Mercury. It will involve elements from all three armed services. It is understood that Exercise Emerald Mercury will involve the setting up of a
temporary joint staff headquarters in the southern command area near Hyderabad. The
exercise will be held in a peace support operations framework that will involve deploying a command post in-country, to simulate a peace enforcement operation in a third country.
India-UK military ties are governed by a Defence Consultative Group (DCG) of the
two ministries of defence. Sub-committees of the army, navy and air force under the
DCG are meeting this month and in December to chart out future programmes. More
than a 100 Indian and British military officers have participated in exchange programmes this year alone.