US to arm India, share technology

Chuck HagelAhead of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much awaited visit to the United States, Washington has given the nod to co-develop or manufacture 34 cutting-edge weapon systems including technical know-how to India.

These include, among others, the full transfer of technology for Javelin missiles. These infra-red guided missiles have a range of around 5 kilometres and can detect, track and destroy tanks.

It has been reported that India’s Bharat Dynamics Limited will be part of the joint venture.

As for other military hardware, Washington has offered the co-development of Scorpion Mutation Bomb, which has a sensor that alerts command centres of approaching energy convoy. Also on offer are 120mm canon guns made by ATK which are mounted on tanks and fire shells of depleted uranium with capability to cut through tank armour.

On August 8, US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said that US was ready to go for co-development and co-production of advanced weapon systems with India. In recent years, US has emerged as the largest arms supplier to India but New Delhi has repeatedly stressed the need for technology transfer and co-development and productions of weapons systems. Prior to this the erstwhile Soviet Union happened to be the major supplier of arms to India.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India became the biggest arms importer in the world in 2010. In 2013 India imported $1.9 billion worth of military equipment from the US.

During his visit Modi is also expected to renew the 10-year-old bilateral defence framework and extend it for five more years. This decision was taken after Hagel’s meeting with India’s Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in August.

In October 2013, when India’s then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Washington, the two sides released the Joint Declaration on Defence Cooperation which urged the two countries to identify ‘collaborative projects in advanced defence technologies and systems, within the next year’.

According to reports, US will also deliver the much delayed 24 Apache Longbow attack helicopters and 16 Chinook helicopters –a deal estimated to be worth $1.4 billion USD.

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