Washington: Just years after US resumed weapons sales to New Delhi, India has jumped to become third biggest arms purchaser from America logging contracts worth over USD 4.5 billion last year alone.
Had the US firms bagged India`s biggest ever deal for fighter jets, New Delhi would have been on the top spot of American arms sales worldwide, according to a Pentagon report.
Even though the US firms lost the bid for an estimated USD 10 billion contract for sale of 126 jets to Indian Air Force (IAF), India was listed as the third largest purchaser of US arms through the government to government channel Foreign Military Sales (FMS) by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the Pentagon agency that overlooks such sales.
Topping the list for the fiscal year 2011 ending September 30, 2011 were Afghan Security Forces (USD 5.4 billion) followed by the Taipei Economic and Cultural
Representative Office in the United States (USD 4.9 billion).
Australia with USD 3.9 billion occupies the fourth spot, followed by Saudi Arabia (USD 3.5 billion), Iraq (USD 2.0 billion), the UAE (USD 1.5 billion), Israel (USD 1.4 billion), Japan (USD 0.5 billion) and Sweden (USD 0.5 billion).
American arms sales to India include Naval Reconnaissance planes, giant transporters, sea-skimming missiles and other weapon systems.
US Foreign Military Sales passed the USD 30 billion mark for the fourth consecutive year, with the 2011 figure starting USD 34.8 billion.