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India, U.S. sign defence deals worth over $3 billion

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on February 25, 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on February 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: V.V. Krishnan

These deals will enhance our joint defence capability, says President Trump

India and the U.S. on Tuesday concluded defence deals worth over $3 billion for 24 MH-60R Seahawk Multi-Role Helicopters for the Navy and six AH-64E attack helicopters for the Army on the sidelines of the discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump.

“Earlier today we expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than $3 billion of advanced U.S. defence equipment including Apache and MH-60R helicopters, the finest in the world,” Mr. Trump said in his press statement. These deals will enhance our joint defence capability as our militaries continue to train and operate together side by side, he added.

The MH-60R helicopters are a critical requirement for the Navy which has an acute shortage on its frontline warships. The Seahawk deal is worth around $2.2 billion and the six Apaches cost around $800 million. To meet the urgent requirement, six Seahawks are expected to be delivered within a year and the rest as per the agreed schedule.

Observing that defence has a major role in the relationship, Mr. Modi said manufacturers of the two countries are becoming part of each other’s supply chains. “In the last few years, there has been unprecedented growth in the inter-operability between our militaries,” he said.

Deliveries for the Army are planned to begin in 2023, said Salil Gupta, President, Boeing India, in a statement.

Addressing the media later, Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla said President Trump has given the highest consideration to India in the procurement, technology and joint development in defence. He said from 2014 onwards there had been about $9 billion in defence acquisitions from the U.S.

According to the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs of the U.S. State Department, the defence trade has increased from near zero in 2008 to $15 billion in 2019. In a fact sheet of June 2019, it said since 2008, the U.S. has also sold to India over $6.6 billion in defence articles through the Direct Commercial Sales process.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 10:10:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-us-sign-defence-deals-worth-over-3-billion/article30915848.ece

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