US companies are hopeful that the Narendra Modi government will take a fresh look at the issue of signing US foundational agreements for transfer of military technology and weapons, according to a top Boeing official.

“I hope the new government will take a fresh look at it. I think it is India’s advantage to do so. It will really ease a lot of government to government transactions,” said retired US Air Force Lt General and Boeing’s vice presidnet for International Business Development Defense Space and Security.

The UPA government had refused to sign the agreements.

“It will also build more trust on the US side that India does recognise and take more seriously some security issues around very sensitive technology,” Kohler, here for the ongoing five-day Aero India air show, told PTI.

US law requires the country to sign three agreements – logistics support, CISMOA (Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement) and BECA (Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for geo-spatial cooperation) – before agreeing to transfer sophisticated military technology and weapons.

Kohler said the change the new government made to increase FDI to 49 per cent was a very positive step, but things wouldn’t happen overnight.

Kohler was earlier Director of the US’ Defense Security Cooperation Agency that is tasked with directing and overseeing American foreign military sales along with other functions.

Kohler said “Even “Make In India” may not move as fast as some Indians would like to see because it takes time.”

He said “You just don’t jump into the global supply chain as a top supplier with no experience. So you have to start small and build the way up.”

Kohler said the workforce and management have to understand that they have to be competitive in the global market – by having the best product at the lowest cost.

“The workforce and management have to understand that they have to be competitive in the global market – I have to have the best product at the lowest cost, and Indian companies are going to help a lot there. It takes time to build up experience and know-how to get that done,” he added.

Kohler said US companies are definitely ready to share their intellectual property with countries for them to produce the product.

Right now, Kohler said, what India needs is to be part of global supply chain, not necessarily niche defence products.

“The Indian industry needs most right now is to be a part of global supply chain, not necessarily niche defence products, but get into the global supply chain,” he added.