India continues to be one of the biggest importers of defence equipments and New Delhi has ensured that its key partners and super-powers including the US, Russia and France get the bulk of the projects.
India continues to finalize defence deals with the US and the latest being a deal worth $3.5 billion for 30 armed helicopters. These soon-to-be-inked deals will take the total value of Indian defence contracts bagged by the US companies since 2007 to well past a whopping $20 billion.
According to the Times of India, the $2.6 billion deal for 24 MH-60 `Romeo’ multi-mission helicopters for the Navy and the $930 million one for six AH-64E Apache attack choppers for the Indian Army could be cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) soon.
The 24 MH-60Rs and six Apache helicopters are part of the several defence deals worth over $10 billion being lined up for the US by India over the next two-three years. The others include six more P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft ($1.8 billion), the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II ($1.8 billion), 30 Sea Guardian armed drones (over $2.5 billion) and 13 big MK-45 naval gun systems for warships ($1.02 billion).
A report by HindustanTimes in its latest report states that defence contracts between India and Russia could also cross the $16 billion which also includes the highly prized S-400 contract.
According to reports by HT, India and Russia signed 14 MoUs during the recent concluded Defexpo 2020which covered development and production of land, air and naval systems and hi-tech civilian products. Russian state-run Rosoboronexport inked deals with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for advanced pyrotechnic ignition systems, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for export of spares and services to friendly countries, and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for land systems, said a statement from the Russian embassy.
“We are about to cross $16 bn amount of deals. Both sides are committed to their timely and successful implementation, including the supply of the S-400…air defence systems by 2025, early production of Kalashnikov AK-203 machine guns and Ka-226T multi-purpose helicopters under relevant joint ventures with a maximum possible level of localisation,” the statement said.
India was the world’s second-largest arms importer from 2014-18, relinquishing the long-held tag as largest importer to Saudi Arabia. “India was the world’s second-largest importer of major arms in 2014–18 and accounted for 9.5% of the global total,” according to a report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
With Inputs From India’s Leading Publications – The Times of India and Hindus Times