More reports on: Defence general

Modi draws $35-bn of Japanese funds; first sale of military hardware

02 September 2014

Prime Minister Narendra Modi'sAlthough a nuclear deal with Tokyo failed to materialise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Japan is widely seen as a success, as he achieved virtually everything else he aimed for, including a commitment from Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to invest almost $35 billion in Indian infrastructure over the next five years.

Modi on his part promised a ''Japan Fast Track Channel for Japanese investors in India''.

Modi also wangled an arms deal in the form of the sale of an amphibious aircraft to the Indian Navy the first sale of military hardware by Japan to any country since the end of World War II, as both nations and particularly Japan are concerned about Chinese expansionism.

The specialised sea-plane, the US-2, can alight on sea or land, and it will significantly enhance the Indian Navy's ability to carry out casualty evacuations, deliver humanitarian assistance and conduct long-range surveillance and reconnaissance.

In keeping with Modi's emphasis on developing military technology indigenously, the US-2 planes will be made in India. The Indian Navy has been lobbying to get 15 of these.

A statement issued in Tokyo after Monday's summit between Prime Ministers Modi and Abe said, "Both sides directed the Joint Working Group to accelerate progress in the discussions and preparations of a road map for the development of the Indian aircraft industry through US-2 amphibian aircraft cooperation including the transfer of the aircraft and its technology to India."

The four-engine US-2 aircraft will act as a force multiplier for the Indian Navy, allowing it to quickly insert troops at places where there is no landing strip on shore, including the numerous far-flung islands in the Andaman and Nicobar chain and Lakshwadeep.

The US-2 is one sturdiest aircrafts and can operate in sea 'State 5' conditions (wind speeds of 30 to 38 km per hour) on the high seas as well as on rivers and lakes. Each plane can carry about 30 personnel and lift 18 tonnes with a range of 4,500 km.

(See: China reacts cautiously to Modi's 'expansionist' remarks and Triumphant Modi beats a storm on Japanese drums)

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