Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 18
As US President Donald Trump heads to India, the two countries which were on opposite ends of the strategic spectrum 30 years ago today have a defence relationship that has emerged as a major pillar of the India-US strategic partnership.
The two countries now conduct more bilateral exercises with each other than they do with any other country. The US has already supplied more than $18 billion worth of weapons and planes to India in the past 12 years. Three more deals worth $7.50 billion (approximately Rs 52,500 crore) are in the pipeline. Binding agreements have been inked which allow deeper alliances.
India is looking to get 24 naval multi-role helicopters from Lockheed Martin for $2.6 billion, the price negotiation has ended and a final contract is expected anytime now.
On February 10, the US Department of State approved a possible sale to India for what is called the Integrated Air Defense Weapon System made by Raytheon. It would cost $1.867 billion and provide an air defence cover over the national capital. These two are coming up immediately while the sale of six more surveillance planes Boeing P8I, costing $3.1 billion, would come up later this year. In the past five years, India has got 145 pieces of the specialised M777 ultra light howtizers.
In June 2016, the US recognised India as a ‘Major Defence Partner’. It commits the US to share technology and enter into industry collaboration for defence co-production. Agreements signed since 2016 have cemented ties. The Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association signed in August 2016 and the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement inked in 2018 – the two along with BECA — are what the US calls ‘foundational agreements’.
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