US to modernise India’s armed forces with Integrated Air Defense Weapon System Trump to visit Delhi on Feb 24-25, Modi delighted

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WASHINGTON: The Donald Trump administration has approved the sale of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) to India for an estimated cost of $1.867 billion.

“The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) for an estimated cost of $1.867 billion.  The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on February 7, 2020,” DSCA said in a statement on Monday (local time).

DSCA said the government of India has requested to buy an Integrated Air Defense Weapon System (IADWS) comprised of —  five AN/MPQ-64Fl Sentinel radar systems; one hundred eighteen (118) AMRAAM AIM-120C-7/C-8 missiles; three AMRAAM Guidance Sections; four AMRAAM Control Sections; and one hundred thirty-four (134) Stinger FIM-92L missiles. 

The Governor of Nagaland, Shri R.N. Ravi calling on the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, in New Delhi on August 08, 2019.

Also included are thirty-two M4A1 rifles; forty thousand three hundred twenty M855 5.56mm cartridges; Fire Distribution Centers (FDC); Handheld Remote Terminals; Electrical Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Sensor Systems; AMRAAM Non-Developmental Item-Airborne Instrumentation Units (NDIAIU); Multi-spectral Targeting System-Model A (MTS-A); Canister Launchers (CN); High Mobility Launchers (HML); Dual Mount Stinger (DMS) Air Defense Systems; Vehicle Mounted Stinger Rapid Ranger Air Defense Systems, said DSCA.

It stated that the proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.

“India intends to use these defense articles and services to modernize its armed forces, and to expand its existing air defense architecture to counter threats posed by air attack. This will contribute to India’s military goal to update its capability while further enhancing greater interoperability between India, the U.S., and other allies. India will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region,” DSCA said in its statement.

The development comes after the United States had in November last year approved the sale of 13 MK45 Naval guns and related equipment for an estimated cost of $1.0210 billion to India.

Defence Relations between the two countries are growing steadily. India has procured several weapon platforms from the US in recent years. Last year, India Air Force inducted Chinook and Apache choppers that are being procured from the US.

Military helicopters

India is set to give final approval to a $2.6 billion deal for military helicopters from the US defence firm Lockheed Martin ahead of a proposed visit by President Donald Trump this month, defence and industry sources said.

India’s defence purchases from the United States have reached $17 billion since 2007 as it has pivoted away from traditional supplier Russia, looking to modernise its military and narrow the gap with China. Cabinet committee on security is expected to clear the purchase of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Indian navy in the next two weeks.

To cut short lengthy negotiations between Lockheed and the Indian government, the helicopters that will be deployed on India’s warships will be bought through the US foreign military sales route, under which the two governments will agree details of the deal.

Trade officials have pointed to large-scale US arms purchases, from surveillance planes to Apache and Chinook helicopters, as proof of India’s willingness to tighten strategic ties. The multirole helicopters will be equipped with Hellfire missiles and are meant to help the Indian navy track submarines in the Indian Ocean, where China is expanding its presence.

Trump’s visit

US President Donald Trump will visit India from February 24-25, White House announced on Monday. The trip will further strengthen the U.S.-India strategic partnership & highlight the strong & enduring bonds between the American & Indian people,” White House said in a tweet.

On January 16, the Ministry of External Affairs had stated that India and the United States are in contact through diplomatic channels over the proposed visit of President Trump.

“Speculations have been made on this for months… When PM Modi met US President Trump, he had invited him to India… Both the countries are in contact over this. We will share with you as and when we get concrete information,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said during a briefing in New Delhi.

During the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston last September, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who shared the dais with Trump, invited the latter and his family to India, saying it will give a new height to the shared dreams of the two countries.

The Indian invitation to the US President was reiterated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar when they called on Trump at the White House after meeting with their American counterparts Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

Modi delighted

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that he is extremely delighted that US President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are visiting India and assured that the country will accord a “memorable” welcome to the esteemed guests.

India will accord a memorable welcome to our esteemed guests. This visit is a very special one and it will go a long way in further cementing India-USA friendship,” Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

Modi’s remarks come hours after Trump said he is looking forward to his maiden visit to India. He added that five to seven million people are expected to welcome him in Ahmedabad during his visit. “I am (going to India). He (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) said we will have millions and millions of people. He thinks we will have five to seven million people just from the airport to the new stadium (Motera Stadium),” Trump told reporters at White House on Tuesday.

PM Modi further said India and US are cooperating extensively on a wide range of issues. “India and the USA share a common commitment to democracy and pluralism. Our nations are cooperating extensively on a wide range of issues. The robust friendship between our nations augurs well not only for our citizens but also for the entire world,” his tweet read.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Trump is expected to attend an event at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on the lines of the ‘Howdy Modi’ function that was addressed by the US President and Modi in Houston in September last year. Trump is slated to pay a two-day visit to India from February 24.

During the visit, Trump, who will be accompanied by First Lady Melania, will attend official engagements in New Delhi and Ahmedabad, and interact with a wide cross-section of the Indian society, the MEA said in a statement.  (ANI)