WASHINGTON: Defence deals worth over Rs 20,000 crores, intelligence sharing on counter-terrorist activities and steps to strengthen military ties are expected to be discussed during US defence Secretary Chuck Hagel’s three-day visit.
The American defence secretary is expected to hold discussions with the top Indian political and military leadership on the military ties between the two countries including the defence hardware partnership, they said.
The issue of intelligence sharing and discussions on deals for procuring 22 Apache attack helicopters, 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers along with four P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft is expected to come up for discussion in the meetings.
The deals are in the final stages and India is in final stages of procuring these equipment, which is expected to be worth around 20,000 crore. Talks will be held between DRDO chief Avinash Chander and Amerian under secretary for defence acquisition Frank Kendall on jointly developing defence hardware such as missiles.
The issue of under-negotiation Ultra Light Howitzer and Javelin anti-tank guided missile is also expected to figure in the discussions between the two countries. The proposed 3,600 crore deal for 145 ULH for Indian Army is “not progressing” as the acquisition is stuck over the issue of price and non-compliance of offsets proposal by the American equipment manufacturer.
The two sides are also expected to hold discussions on further expanding military-to-military exercises between the two sides. India and the US hold regular exercises under the naval Malabar, Special Forces’ Shatrujeet and Air Force’s Cope India series of war-games at regular intervals.
The sale of military hardware by the US to India in a major way started in 2003 with the procurement of ANTPQ-37 weapon locating radars for the Army and has continued with the sale of 12 C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, C-17 transport aircraft, Harpoon anti-ship missiles and P-8I aircraft.