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November 26, 2015

India, Japan to finalise aircraft pact during Shinzo Abe's India visit

 
India and Japan are set to firm up an agreement to jointly produce amphibious military aircraft during the upcoming visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in what could be the first defence deal between the two countries.  The US 2 amphibious aircraft, that has applications for search and rescue, surveillance as well as intelligence gathering, will be produced in India not only for domestic orders but will also be pitched jointly for exports in the region and beyond Besides the US 2 programme, the two sides are also expected to firm up a larger umbrella agreement to promote the joint development and production of military systems in support of the Make in India initiative.
 Officials aware of the developments have told ET that the Rs 7440 crore US 2 proposal was discussed during the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Kuala Lumpur where he met Abe, and it was jointly agreed to take the initiative forward.  While an initial requirement of 12 aircraft has been raised by the Navy that has submitted a new, detailed report to the defence ministry on the project, more requirements are anticipated in the future, including Coast Guard orders. 
Sources have told ET that Japanese manufacturer ShinMaywa has also sent a letter to the Indian government with details of plans to make the aircraft in India in collaboration with Pipavav which is now controlled by the Anil Ambani group.As reported by ET, Japan's plans to export its first military equipment to India had hit a bump in April with the defence ministry asking the navy to review, among other projects, the operational requirement of the ShinMaywa US 2. 
A report on the necessity and scope of operations of what would be the navy's only amphibious platform has been requested by the ministry. The report on the Rs 7440-crore project has since been submitted by the navy in consultation with the Coast Guard and has been given the go-ahead as part of the 'Make in India' initiative.  Japanese firm ShinMaywa is keen to make India a production hub for global orders and has been in touch with several private sector companies since 2011 before finalizing Pipavav as its main partner for the project.

economictimes

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