US to sell Apache choppers to India | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 14, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:28 AM, June 14, 2018

US to sell Apache choppers to India

The United States government has approved a deal to sell the Indian military six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for $930 million, the State Department said Tuesday.

The agreement has been passed to the US Congress for approval, but if no US lawmaker raises an objection the contract is expected to go ahead.

Boeing and Indian partner Tata have begun to produce Apache fuselages at a plant in India, but Tuesday's approval concerns a direct sale of finished products from US manufacturers.

The lead contractors are US arms, aviations and engineering giants Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Raytheon.

In addition to aircraft, the contract includes night vision sensors, GPS guidance and hundreds of Hellfire anti-armor and Stinger air-to-air missiles.

"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," the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said, in a statement.

"India will have no difficulty absorbing the helicopters and support equipment into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region."

Persisting failure to build a robust defence production industry has ensured that India continues to remain in the strategically-vulnerable position of being the world's largest arms importer, accounting for 12% of the global imports from 2013-2017.

Arms imports by India increased by 24% between 2008-2012 and 2013-2017 periods, as per data on international arms transfers released by global think-tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

India is followed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, China, Australia, Algeria, Iraq, Pakistan and Indonesia as the world's top arms importers. The largest arms suppliers to India from 2013-2017 were Russia (62%), US (15%) and Israel (11%).

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