Defence sales and cooperation featured prominently in the speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Donald Trump at the Namaste Trump event in Ahmedabad on Monday. While announcing that defence deals worth around $3 billion would be signed during his visit, Mr. Trump offered a range of high-tech defence equipment to India.
“As we continue to build our defence cooperation, the U.S. looks forward to providing India with some of the best and most feared military equipment on the planet. We make the greatest weapons ever made. Airplanes, missiles, rockets, ships.... we make the best and we’re dealing now with India. But this includes advanced air-defence systems and armed and unarmed aerial vehicles,” Mr. Trump said as Prime Minister Modi looked on. “Tomorrow our representatives will sign deals to sell over $3 billion in the absolute finest state-of-the-art military helicopters and other equipment to the Indian armed forces,” he said.
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The deals are for 24 MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters for the Navy worth $2.2 billion and six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Army worth $800 million. The two deals were approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) last week.
Long pending proposals
The other big ticket deals in the pipeline are for armed drones, air defence system, MK-45 127mm naval guns and six more P-8I long range maritime patrol aircraft among others. While these are at various stages of procurement, the U.S. State Department has recently notified the sale of an air defence system to Delhi in a deal worth $1.8 billion.
As reported by The Hindu , the long pending proposal to procure armed Predator drones from the U.S. for the three Services is back on the table and the Qualitative Requirements (QR) are currently being finalised. Several of these deals got a push after India signed the foundational agreement, Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA), in 2018 which officials had stated on several occasions was essential to sell some of the high end equipment.
Referring to the first tri-Service military exercise Tiger Triumph between the armed forces of India and the U.S. last year, Mr. Trump said the partnership took a major step forward with it. “It [the exercise] was something to behold,” he said.
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Referring to the first tri-Service military exercise Tiger Triumph between the armed forces of India and the U.S. last year, Mr. Trump said partnership took a major step forward. “It was something to behold,” he said.
Expressing his belief that the U.S. should be India’s “premier defence partner and that’s the way it’s working out,” Mr. Trump added, “Together, we will defend our sovereignty, security and protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region for our children and for the many many generations to come.”
Mr. Modi too said India’s conducts the highest number of military exercises with the U.S. than any other country.