Remarks by Ambassador Kenneth I. Juster at DefExpo 2018 U.S. Industry Networking Reception


Thank you, Phil, for your kind introduction.  Good afternoon everyone.  It is great to be here in Chennai.  I would like to thank AmCham, USIBC, and USISPF for jointly hosting this event and for all of their excellent support to the defense industry.  And a warm welcome to Major General Suntheimer, Deputy Commanding General at the U.S. Army Pacific Command.

For those here for the first time, DefExpo is India’s largest land, naval, and internal security exhibition.  With 19 U.S. companies exhibiting and another 21 represented, U.S. industry is one of the largest foreign supporters of this event.  We are also pleased to have a sizable U.S. Government presence, representing all our military services, as well as our Departments of Commerce and State.

Expanding Bilateral Partnership

The U.S. recognition of India as a Major Defense Partner reflects the increasingly significant role India plays in regional and global security, and, also, the overall importance the United States places on its bilateral strategic relationship with India.  The United States is fully committed to helping India achieve our mutual security goals through exercises and training, and by providing the advanced platforms and systems necessary to modernize India’s military.

The Ministry of Defense placed India’s defense needs at $250 billion over the next ten years.  Under the “Make in India” initiative, Indian private industry is expected to play an increasingly large role in defense production.  For U.S. and Indian companies, the future offers vast opportunities for cooperation.  U.S. companies bring to the table what no other companies can – unmatched quality, reliability, lethality, safety, security, and scalability.

Examples of U.S.-India Defense Cooperation

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the inauguration of the Tata-Boeing Aerospace joint venture in Hyderabad for the manufacture of Apache fuselages.  This joint venture is just one of many examples of U.S. companies bringing high-technology defense production to India.  Eventually, every Apache helicopter sold in the world will have fuselages built in Hyderabad.

Other successful examples of cooperation include:

  • The Lockheed Martin-Tata joint venture to produce major components for the C-130 aircraft and S-92 helicopter;
  • The BAE-Mahindra partnership for the assembly, integration, and testing of the M777 howitzer guns; and
  • The Mahindra-Telephonics Integrated Systems joint effort on radar production for Indian military aircraft.

All of these cooperative ventures showcase how U.S. technology, know-how, and high-tech training can combine with India’s highly-skilled workforce and economic potential to deliver wins for both nations.

There are many other partnerships and joint ventures between U.S. and Indian defense companies, and an expanding ecosystem of Indian suppliers to the U.S. defense industry.  We are just getting started.  U.S. companies, with the full support of the U.S. Government, are eager to assist India in meeting its defense needs – from small arms and munitions to advanced fighter aircraft.

Looking Ahead to DefExpo

I am looking forward to joining tomorrow’s opening ceremony at the USA Partnership Pavilion.  I would like to thank Kallman Worldwide for organizing the Pavilion and for facilitating the attendance by U.S. companies at the DefExpo.  I encourage all of you to make your way to the Pavilion, visit the booths, talk with U.S. industry leaders, and learn about the capabilities and opportunities that U.S. companies offer.

Once again, thank you for coming, and I wish all of you a successful exhibition and fruitful endeavors in India.