Amid Trump administration’s opposition to the S-400 deal with Russia, India is likely to sign a mega defence deal with the US to purchase American defence equipment worth over USD 7.5 billion, in an apparant bid to balance out the military ties with Washington and Kremlin. According to a new agency ANI, citing government sources, India and the US are moving closer to seal the mega defence deal and a Letter of Request will soon be issued in this regard.
"All the three services (Army, Navy and Air Force) are collating their requirement for the Sea Gaurdian armed drones which will us a strong capability in terms of high altitude long endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and also enhance our capabilities to carry surveillance," the sources said.
Since some of the requirements of the three wings of the armed forces would be different from each other, their collation would take a few months and a Letter of Request is expected to be issued to the Washington for the government-to-government deal by February and March next year, they said. The deal will cost India over USD 4.5 billion.
According to the people privy of the development, the Trump administration has approved the sale of armed drones to India and even offered to equip them with required missiles and other systems. The other major deal which is under the pipeline is the deal of 10 P-8I anti-submarine warfare and long-range surveillance aircraft which would be inducted into the Indian Navy. The deal is likely to cost USD 3 billion.
The US has been opposing to India’s defence deals with Russia as Washington has imposed sanction against the Kremlin. India has recently paid the first instalment of $850 million to Russia as part of the S-400 deal. The payment was made via special arrangements in order to avert the US sanctions.
The S-400 Triumph Deal was inked between India and Russia in October last year. The Trump administration had objected to the deal and threatened sanction against India. However, New Delhi decided to go ahead with the deal and experts believe the defence deal with US is being signed by India to balance the military ties with the two warring countries.