It is the first sale of U.S. missiles to India

India has also sought technical support

There are no known offset agreements

Washington: The United States on Wednesday announced the sale of two dozen Harpoon II anti-ship missiles to India.

The deal, worth over $170 million, was made public as Defence Minister A.K. Antony began a high-level visit to the U.S. This would be the first sale of American missiles to India.

The Pentagon has notified Congress of a possible sale to India of the Harpoon Block II missiles, which would arm squadrons of the maritime-role version of Jaguar warplanes of the Indian Air Force.

The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency said India had sought 20 AGM-84L Harpoon missiles, which are fired from fixed-wing aircraft, and four ATM-84L Harpoon Block II Exercise missiles, containers, training devices, spare and repair parts.

Fourth major sales

If the Harpoon deal goes through, it would be the fourth major U.S. arms sales to India over the last three years. Washington has already sold to India ANTPQ37 weapon-locating radars, six Hercules C-130J transport aircraft and eight maritime P-8 reconnaissance aircraft.

India has also asked for supply/technical support, support equipment, personnel training and training equipment, technical data and publications, U.S. government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, the DSCA said.

“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the U.S. by helping to improve the security of an important partner and to strengthen the U.S.-India strategic relationship, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace and economic progress in South Asia,” the Pentagon said.

“India intends to use the Harpoon missiles to modernise its Air Force’s Anti-Surface Warfare mission capabilities and improve its naval operational flexibility. The missiles will assist the Indian Navy to develop and enhance standardisation and operational ability with the United States. India will have no difficulty absorbing these missiles into its armed forces,” the Pentagon added.

The Department of Defence said the proposed sale and support would not affect the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor will be the Boeing Company of St Louis, Missouri, and there are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. — PTI

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