US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are expected to make meaningful advancements on the GE jet engine deal and civil nuclear technology during their bilateral talks, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was cited in a Reuters report. Earlier this year, US General Electric (US GE) announced that it had inked an agreement with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), the government's aerospace and defence manufacturing firm, to jointly manufacture engines in India to power fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

Biden departed from Andrew's air base on Thursday for the 18th G20 Summit to be held at the state-of-the-art Bharat Mandapam Convention Centre at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.

Before boarding the flight for India, Biden posted on his social media account X, "I'm headed to the G20 – the premier forum for international economic cooperation – focused on making progress on Americans' priorities, delivering for developing nations, and showing our commitment to the G20 as a forum that can deliver."

US-based company GE opened its gates for the transfer of technology to India for the indigenous manufacture of jet engines in April this year.

The agreement includes the potential joint production of GE Aerospace's F414 engines in India. The effort is part of the Indian Air Force's Light Combat Aircraft Mk2 program. The agreement will advance GE Aerospace's earlier commitment to build 99 engines for the Indian Air Force as part of the TEJAS MK-2 program. In addition, GE will continue to collaborate with Indian government on the AMCA MkK-2 engine program.

On the commercial side, Air India had also announced the biggest-ever purchase by an Indian airline of aircraft, including 400 single-aisle and 70 twin-aisle planes powered by engines built by GE and CFM International, a 50-50 joint company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines. The blockbuster deal, ranking near the top of all deals worldwide, signalled the recovery of commercial aviation after years of Covid shutdown.

GE had also announced agreements that deepen the company's investment in India's military. HAL continues to assemble the GE F404 family of engines that have powered each generation of the TEJAS, the light combat aircraft (LCA) that evolved from that project.

India is currently in the final stages of preparing a 'Letter of Request' (LoR) to be sent to the United States government for the purchase of 31 MQ-9B drones from General Atomics (GA).

The LoR, which will provide information on the equipment and terms of the procurement, is expected to be submitted within a month.

Once received, the US government and the Defence Ministry will negotiate and finalise the 'Letter of Offer and Acceptance' (LOA).

This LOA will outline the details of the equipment and terms of the procurement, and the price and terms offered by the US government including training, training materials, and supply of spare parts.

About three months ago (on 15 June), just a week ahead of Prime Minister Modi's visit to the US, the defence acquisition council approved the acquisition of 16 sky guardian and 15 sea guardian high-altitude long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft systems.