PM leaves for US with $5-bn weapons list news
26 September 2013

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who left for the United States today, is carrying a long shopping list, including a $5-billion weapons order and a possible agreement on the proposed Westinghouse nuclear power plant to be set up in Gujarat.

India is looking to purchase a whole range of defence equipment, including six additional C-130 J Hercules Medium Lift Aircraft, 22 Apache Attack Helicopters, 15 Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopters and about 140 M-777 ultra-light towed Howitzers, from the US.

And, despite the United States signing a global arms trade pact that limits global annual arms sales to $70 billion, India expects contracts for all the proposed arms purchases to be signed before the end of the current financial year.

The purchases are part of wider defence collaboration with the US, which may include co-producing aircraft like the C-130 J Hercules and joint military exercises with the US.

US has sold India weapons systems worth $8 billion over the last decade and is poised to edge out Russia and Israel as New Delhi's biggest defence equipment suppliers.

This has prompted Victor Komaradin, the head of a Russian delegation to Aero-India 2013, to comment that "although Russia has virtually created Indian defence industries in the 1960s and '70s, little attention is being given to the Russian contribution in building India's defence capabilities."

India, which is viewed as a regional power, imports 70 per cent of all its weapons requirements, and, according to a March 2013 report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, New Delhi replaced Beijing as the world's top arms importer accounting for 12 per cent of global arms transfers between 2008 and 2012.

China, which accounted for about six per cent of global arms purchases, manufactures most of its weapons.

Prime Minister, who will hold a summit meeting with President Obama in Washington on 27 September, will, thereafter, travel to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly.

''Over the past decade, our relationship with the United States, which is one of our most important relationships, has transformed into a global strategic partnership,'' the prime minister said on the eve of his departure to the US.

''The intensive, high-level bilateral visits over the last few months reflect the strong momentum of our engagement. We have also registered impressive progress in our cooperation across the full spectrum of the relationship,'' he added.

For India, the US remains a key source of technology, investment, innovation and resources, and one of the most important destinations for its goods and services.





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PM leaves for US with $5-bn weapons list