Written byGarima Bora ·
The Trump administration has approved a deal to sell six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to India for $930 million, the Pentagon said, underlining that this will strengthen India's ability to deter regional threats.
Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress about the US State Department's decision in this regard.
The sale is expected to pass through if no lawmaker opposes.
In addition to the attack helicopters, the contract also includes fire control radars, Hellfire Longbow missiles, stinger Block I-92H missiles, night vision sensors, and inertial navigation systems.
The administration said the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The lead contractors are US arms, aviation, and engineering giants Lockheed Martin, General Electric, and Raytheon.
"This support for the AH-64E will provide an increase in India's defensive capability to counter ground-armored threats and modernize its armed forces. India will have no difficulty absorbing the helicopters and support equipment into its armed forces," the Pentagon said.
"India plans to spend billions on military modernization over the next decade, and we are eager to seize opportunities," a US State Department official said.
In addition to foreign military sales valued at $1.62bn, India has purchased $2.82bn in defense articles since 2013 via the Direct Commercial Sales process.
Indo-US bilateral defense trade US has risen from near zero to $15bn since 2008.
US government-to-government sales to India in recent years have included C-17 transport aircraft, 155 mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers, UGM-84L Harpoon missiles, Support for C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) support equipment.
The notification to the Congress comes ahead of the 2+2 dialogue between India and the US next month in Washington DC involving the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and the Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their American counterparts.
The official said India is a key partner in America's efforts to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is a region of peace, stability, and growing prosperity.
India-US defense trade cooperation continues to expand, including through the US-India Defense Trade and Technology Initiative, a partnership begun in 2012 which seeks to create opportunities for US-India co-production and co-development.
In 2016, India was awarded the status of a US Major Defense Partner, which allows India to receive license-free access to a wide range of military technologies.
The US and India also agreed to an updated ten-year Defence Framework Agreement in June 2015 to guide and expand their bilateral defense and strategic partnership until 2025.
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