India's $2.6 billion deal for US Naval helicopter deal in progressFebruary 11, 2020 15:14
(Image source from: voanews.com)
The final approval regarding the $2.6 billion deal for the military helicopters from the United States defence firm Lockheed Martin has to be made by India prior to the visit by the President of United States Donald Trump in this month, as said by the sources of defence and industry.
Attempting to reaffirm the strategic ties between India and the United States, the government of India is trying to pull out all the stops for Trump’s visit to India.
The defence purchases made by India from the United States have reached $17 billion since the year 2007 as it had turned off from Russia which is the traditional supplier, seeking to modernize its military and to narrow the gap with China.
Reuters has been told by a defence official and an industry source that the cabinet committee on security of PM Narendra Modi is expected to clear the purchasing of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the navy of India in the next two weeks.
The industry source has said that “Its a government to government deal, it is close.”
The helicopters which will be deployed on the warships of India are said to be bought through the route of the U.S foreign military sales, under which the details of the deal will be agreed by both the governments of India as well as the United States. This is said to be done in order to cut short the lengthy negotiations between Lockheed and the government of India.
It has been announced by the White House that the President of the United States will be paying a visit to India on the 24th and 25th of February, on Monday. This trip of Donald Trump is said to be his first official trip to the country India.
A limited trade agreement is being worked on by both the countries separately prior to the trip after the impositions of tit- for- tat tariffs that have been earlier on the imports that are being done by both the countries.
The US State Department has said on Monday that a request that has been made by India has been approved which was regarding an Integrated Air Defence Weapon System for an estimated cost of $1.87 billion which would help in strengthening the defence ties that the two countries share.
It is expected that the two countries would move forward on the deal over the year.
The government of India has outlined only a modest rise in the Budget of the years 2020-21 which was made on the 1st of the month February with the defence spending to $73.65 billion and a part of this is said to be used for making a down payment on the helicopter purchase, as said by a defence official.
The State Department of the United States has approved the sale of the choppers to India in the previous year which also included the radars, torpedoes and 10 AGM- 114 Hellfire missiles.
The armed version of the Guardian drones have also been offered by the United States to India. The Guardian drones are said to be originally authorized for sale as unarmed for the purpose of surveillance which is said to be the first approval for a country excluding the NATO alliance.
By Shrithika Kushangi