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US-India defense cooperation grows amid surging weapons sales

US-India Defense Cooperation Grows Amid Surging Weapons Sales

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New Delhi, 11 April 2024 (WAI): India’s defense procurement landscape has witnessed a remarkable shift in significant development. While Russia has historically been India’s primary arms supplier, recent data reveals a surge in weapons sales from the United States to India. Here are the key highlights:

Changing Dynamics:

India, the world’s top arms importer between 2019 and 2023, has seen its imports rise by 4.7 percent compared to the previous five-year period (2014-2018).

Although Russia remains India’s leading arms supplier, the last five years mark the first time since 1960-64 those Russian deliveries accounted for less than half of India’s arms imports.

The United States has emerged as a significant player, substantially increasing arms sales to India.

U.S.-India Defense Deals:

India now procures a diverse range of defense weaponry from the U.S., including:

C-17 Globemaster III aircraft

AH-64 Apache attack helicopters

MH-60 Romeo helicopters

P8I Poseidon Maritime reconnaissance aircraft

And more deals are in progress.

A landmark agreement was signed during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the U.S. last year. GE Aerospace and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) joined forces to produce fighter jet engines for India’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Mk-II—Tejas.

Also Read: US, Japan, Philippines leaders unite for cooperation

Strategic Imperatives:

India faces dual threats from Pakistan in the west and China in the north. The U.S. is a crucial partner in countering these challenges.

The U.S.-India nuclear deal 2008 transformed bilateral relations, allowing nuclear commerce despite India’s non-signatory status to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

As China asserts itself in the region, India’s strategic heft and economic scale make it an indispensable partner for the U.S.

Challenges Ahead:

Technology transfer remains a critical issue. India’s “Make in India” initiative emphasizes indigenization, necessitating collaboration on defense technology.

Incremental steps and low-hanging fruit should precede major defense agreements between the two nations.

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