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PM approves $1bn deal with United States

The India-US strategic clinch continues to get tighter as India finals a deal for 4 Poseidons

Policy Pulse
Publish Date: Jul 2 2016 2:47PM | Updated Date: Jul 2 2016 2:47PM

PM approves $1bn deal with United States

Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), chaired by PM Narendra Modi, has cleared the acquisition of four Poseidon-8I longrange surveillance and antisubmarine warfare aircraft at a cost of over $1 billion. "The contract will be inked with Boeing in the next few days. The first P-8I will be delivered to the Navy within three years," said a source. The four new P-8I aircraft, packed with radars and weapons, will join the first eight such aircraft inducted by the Navy in 2013-2015 under a $2.1 billion deal.

 

The Navy is using the eight P-8Is, armed with deadly Harpoon Block-II missiles, MK-54 lightweight torpedoes, rockets and depth charges, to keep an "intelligent hawk-eye" over the entire Indian Ocean Region, which has witnessed stepped-up Chinese submarine forays over the last two years. With an operating range of 1,200 nautical miles, "with four hours on station", the P-8Is provide the reach and flexibility to undertake extensive maritime surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions.

 

They can detect "threats" in India's immediate and extended areas of interest and neutralise them if required. The CCS approval comes after the defence ministry last week also cleared acquisition of 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers from the US. The Army wants these 155mm/39calibre howitzers as they can be swiftly airlifted to "threatened high-altitude areas" along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control with China.

 

The US, of course, is now also aggressively hawking its fighter jets — the twin-engine F/A-18 "Super Hornet" (Boeing) or the single-engine F-16 "Fighting Falcon" (Lockheed Martin) — for the Make in India programme, as per the TOI report.