India and the US on Tuesday finalised defence deals worth USD 3 billion under which 30 military helicopters will be procured from two American defence majors for Indian armed forces. The announcement on the deals were made by US President Donald Trump after his wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Talking about convergence of interests between the two countries, Modi said he and Trump have decided to raise the Indo-US ties to the level of a comprehensive global strategic partnership.
Under a USD 2.6 billion deal, India will buy 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters from Lockheed Martin for the Indian Navy. Another contract to acquire six AH-64E Apache helicopters for USD 800 million from aerospace giant Boeing has also been sealed.
"We expanded our defence cooperation with agreements for India to purchase more than USD 3 billion of advanced American military equipment, including Apache and MH-60 Romeo helicopters -- the finest in the world," Trump said in his media statement.
"These deals will enhance our joint defence capabilities as our militaries continue to train and operate side-by-side," the US president said. In a statement, Boeing welcomed India's decision to acquire AH-64 Apache helicopters. "The AH-64E Apache will be a force multiplier for the Indian Army, just as it is today for the Indian Air Force," said Boeing India President Salil Gupte.
He said the new contract is a testimony to the trust and long- standing partnership Boeing has nurtured over the years with Indian customers. "Through our local entity, Boeing Defence India, we are supporting the P-8I, C-17, CH-47 Chinook, and AH-64 Apache with holistic life-cycle support to assist with India's defense modernisation effort and mission-readiness at competitive costs," he said.
Defence and security ties between India and the US have been on an upswing in the last six years. The bilateral defence trade touched USD 18 billion mark in 2019, reflecting growing defence cooperation between the two sides. Both sides have also been pushing for joint venture and collaboration between private sectors of the two countries in defence manufacturing.
In June 2016, the US had designated India a "Major Defence Partner," intending to elevate defence trade and technology sharing with New Delhi to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners. PTI MPB ZMN