Obama victory is good news for Indias arms plan

Written by Huma Siddiqui | New Delhi | Updated: Nov 13 2012, 07:34am hrs
US President Barack Obama's re-election is being seen as a big boost for India's military purchases. Industry watchers are expecting a 'renewed thrust' from the Obama administration on the defence deals with India as he was instrumental in pushing deals worth $10 billion during his first term.

New Delhi is expecting to seal deals worth billions for helicopters, howitzer guns, weapons systems and platforms. India plans to spend an upward of $100 billion for weapon systems and platforms over the next decade.

In 2011, military sales from the US to India touched $ 4.5 billion and the total military trade with that country in ten years has touched $10 billion from near zero.

India now holds more than 50 annual military exercises with the US, more than any other country.

Some big-ticket deals procured from the US in the last five years, include eight P-8I maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft from Boeing, valuing $ 2.1 billion.

Also, 10 C-17 heavy-lifters from Boeing for $4.1 billion is also in the pipeline. Most of these deals have been through the foreign military sales (FMS) that ensures the deals are government-to-government and are inked faster.

Six C-130 J special operations aircraft, valuing $ 1.2 billion, have already arrived in the country and an order for six more is in the offing. India is also planning to place an order for M777 ultra-light howitzers for $ 700 million.The US defence manufacturers have emerged as the chosen one for supplying the attack helicopters and the heavy-lift choppers for the Indian Air Force.

Besides underlining its commitment to the modernisation of the Indian army, the US administration has eased its Export Controls and Technology security policies towards India and removed premier Defence Research and Development Organisation and Indian Space Research Organisation from its commerce department entity list.