In a major boost to the armed forces, India on Wednesday signed a nearly Rs 5,000 crore deal with United States Of America for 145 M777 ultra-light howitzers guns.The guns will be mostly used near the borders with China. The purchase of guns will be India’s first deal for artillery guns since the Bofors scandal in 1980s. “India has today signed the Letter of Acceptance which formalises the contract between India and US for these guns,” PTI sources said.
The Rs 5,000 crore deal was recently cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). The deal was signed at the beginning of 5th India-US Military Cooperation Group (MCG) began here. India-US MCG is a forum established to progress Defence Cooperation between HQ Integrated Defence Staff and US Pacific Command at the strategic and operational levels. As per PTI, the meeting was commenced with the US Co-Chair Lt Gen David
H Berger, Commander US Marine Corps Forces, Pacific calling on Lt Gen Satish Dua, CISC, HQ IDS. While it was co-chaired by Air Marshal AS Bhonsle. DCIDS (Operations), HQ IDS. The bilateral event is being attended by a 260-member delegation from the US Defence Forces and several officers from the three Services HQ and HQ IDS representing the Indian side are attending the bilateral event.
As per PTI sources, India had sent a Letter of Request to the US government showing interest in buying the guns which will be deployed in high-altitude areas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bordering China. In response to the request, a Letter of Acceptance (LOA) was sent back to the Defence Ministry, which later looked into the terms and conditions and approved it. The offsets, under which BAE Systems, manufacturer of the gun, will invest about USD 200 million, will be pursued independently. While 25 guns will come to India in a fly-away condition, the rest will be assembled at home in partnership with Mahindra. The first two howitzers guns will be delivered within six months of the contract being inked, while rest will come at the rate of two per month.