Defence deal unlikely to be inked during Obama`s visit

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - 23:34

New Delhi: India and the US are unlikely to
ink any major defence deal during American President Barack
Obama`s visit here next month, a senior Defence Ministry
official said on Wednesday.

"Defence is only one part of major state visits, but an
important elements. The process of negotiations are going on
with regard to defence deals (with the US) including the
C-17s. To say that it will be inked (during Obama`s visit) is
not correct," Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar told reporters
here today.
Among the deals the two countries are negotiating is
the USD 5.8 billion contract for 10 C-17 Globemaster II
heavylift transport aircraft.

Apart from the C-17s, India is in negotiations with the
US for purchasing 24 Harpoon air-to-ground missile system
worth USD 170 million and 145 M777 ultralight howitzers for
USD 650 million.

Kumar said acquisitions had to go through a process and
it could take anywhere from 26 months to 35 months before it
was completed.

With regard to other `enabling` agreements for
acquisition such as the Communication Interoperability and
Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Logistics
Support Agreement (LSA), Kumar said the Defence Ministry was
in consultation with the armed forces to see how beneficial
these foundational agreements would be to them before a final
decision on signing it was taken.

CISMOA deals with secure and easier sharing of
information through the hi-tech communication equipment that
the US would supply to India along with modern platforms and
systems such as the P-8I maritime patrol aircraft and six
C-130J special forces transport aircraft for its Navy and Air
Force respectively. LSA is for money-less supplies for
warships and military aircraft at each other`s sea-ports and
airports.
Kumar said the Americans were insisting on CISMOA "to
enable them to supply" high technology equipment to Indian
armed forces.

"We are in consultation with our Armed Forces too see if
it will be beneficial. We are trying to understand how it will
help us. We are studying it (agreements). We have asked the US
to tell us how it will be of use to us," he said.

Though there are indications that the Indian armed forces
were reluctant to sign the agreements lest they get "tied up"
to American systems in the future, India is yet to make it
categorical that it would not sign these agreements.

India had signed an agreement with the US for Americans
to inspect military equipment they supply to Indian armed
forces to ensure these are used only for the purpose for which
these were sole in the first place.

The two sides had inked a basic End-User Monitoring
Agreement (EUMA) in the middle of last year during the visit
of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 20, 2010 - 23:34

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