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BackYou are here: NewsIndia US offers top-of-line weapons to India


US offers top-of-line weapons to India

NEW DELHI: As India inches closer to finalising the purchase of 126 fighter aircraft, the US has offered India top of the line defence weapon systems.

The Pentagon has said that three agreements that are currently being negotiated between India and the US would allow the country to share key American technologies. “Pentagon is working with India to put three foundational agreements in place with New Delhi that would allow American frontline technologies to be shared with the country,” top Pentagon official Michele Flournoy was quoted as saying.

Her comments come as India is in the final stages of finalising the $10 billion deal to buy 126 fighter aircrafts. US companies Boeing with its F-18 super hornet and Lockheed Martin with its F-16 fighting Falcons are among the bidders for the contract. Making a strong pitch for awarding of the contract to the US companies, Pentagon official Michele Flournoy pushed for US solutions for India’s defence needs” and said India should opt for American fighter jets as it would pave the way for “more effective protection of mutual security interest in the future” .

“Today, two American companies are among the leading competitors for the $10 billion sale of 126 advanced fighter aircraft to the Indian Air Force, currently the world’s biggest defence tender. And we are also looking at future defence sales of the C-17 , as another example of near-term defence cooperation,” she said. The Pentagon official also emphasised that the US looked at defence sales as strategic decisions . “I want to underscore though that we in the Department of Defence do not view defence sales as mere commercial transactions... We understand that India is making a strategic as well as an economic choice when it makes defence acquisitions,” she said.

“Obviously the commercial benefits of defence sales to the US economy can’t be denied. But from a DOD perspective , these sales are even more important in building a strategic partnership that will allow both countries to cooperate more effectively, to protect their mutual security interests in the future,” Ms Flournoy said.

The Pentagon official not only held out the promise of top of the line technology but also revealed that the US is making export control reforms a key priority. `` We see streamlining and modernising of export control system as a national security priority and one that directly affects our ability to build and sustain these key partnerships” .

She further said that US would continue to work with India on countering the spread of WMD, maritime cooperation and identifying new technologies to combat the threat. She noted that US arms sales to India were increasing and pointed out the recent purchase by New Delhi of C-130 J Hercules Transport Aircraft, P-81 Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft and the proposed sale of heavy-lift C-17 Aircraft.

(The Economic Times, 3rd July)