New Delhi: The last quarter of the year 2010 may end with a big bang for the Indian defence sector as a number of big ticket deals are likely to be sealed and announced amidst furry of high profile visits by foreign heads of states. With the Russian and French heads of states due to drop by in December it will, however, be US president Barack Obama's visit in November that will garner the headlines.
It is being let known that India may announce not just an additional purchase of four Boeing P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, over and above the eight already on order but also confirm the acquisition of 10 C-17 Boeing Globemaster heavy lift transport aircraft.
This would not only be welcome news for a US president desperately trying to generate jobs in a moribund economy, but also for him as a politician, hailing as he does from Chicago, the same city where Boeing is headquartered.
For the Indian Navy it will also be a double whammy of sorts with the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by defence minister AK Antony, also clearing the acquisition of four big amphibious assault warships for the Navy. Known as Landing Platform Docks (LPD) this deal is expected to be worth around Rs16,000 crore.
Coupled with the additional Boeing P-8I Poseidons the two deals will work out to a whopping Rs26,000 crore. The eight P8-I Poseidons were contracted for a cost of $2.1 billion and the additional four will take the value of the contract beyond $3bn. This will make it the biggest ever defence deal won by America on Indian soil.
Critically, for the US, the order for the C-17 Globemasters and the Poseidons has the potential to generate up to 30,000 jobs and more in America.