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BackYou are here: NewsIndia U.S. poised to overtake Russia as biggest arms supplier in India’s rapid military buildup

India

U.S. poised to overtake Russia as biggest arms supplier in India’s rapid military buildup

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO100…-structure.htm

Rick Rozoff

A September 8 report by a leading Canadian newspaper cited the Indian branch of the Deloitte consulting firm estimating the world’s second most populous nation plans to spend as much as $80 billion for its defense sector in the next five years. It quoted an Indian journalist, Rahul Bedi, a contributor to Jane’s Defence Weekly, as stating “No one else is buying like India.” [1]

Earlier this year the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) disclosed that India had become the world’s second-largest importer of weapons from 2005-2009, “importing 7% of the world’s arms exports.” Only China imported more weaponry, though that nation is slated to purchase less foreign arms, both aggregate and percentile, in the coming years and the largest foreign supplier of its weapons is a non-Western country, Russia.

During the five-year period mentioned above, Indian arms imports more than doubled from $1.04 billion in 2005 to $2.2 billion in 2009. Over the past 20 years Russia has been far and away the main provider of arms to India, as the Soviet Union had been in previous decades, though “The United States, currently India’s sixth-biggest arms supplier, seems likely to leapfrog to second position once New Delhi starts paying for a series of recent and ongoing acquisitions.” [2]

Those contracts include $1.1 billion for C-130J Super Hercules transport planes, $2.4 billion for Globemaster airlifters and $2 billion for P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft. (A version of Boeing’s Poseidon reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare Multimission Maritime Aircraft modified for Indian use.) Reports in both the Russian and Chinese press speculate that when U.S. President Barack Obama visits India in November he “may secure $5 billion worth of arms sales,” a deal that “would make the US replace Russia as India’s biggest arms supplier” and “help India curb China’s rise.” [3]

The unprecedented weapons transactions could include “Patriot air defence batteries and Boeing mid-air refueling tankers.

“Observers point out that the role of India’s biggest arms supplier is shifting from Russia to the United States.” [4]

A Chinese news source added that Washington will also supply New Delhi with howitzers and that “the total cost of the deal may exceed $10 billion….”

The Economic Times of India disclosed in July that “talks are underway between Indian and US officials over a deal to sell 10 Boeing C-17 [Globemaster III] military transport aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF).”

Wang Mingzhi, a military strategist at the People’s Liberation Army Air Force Command College, warned “once India gets the C-17 transport aircraft, the mobility of its forces stationed along the border with China will be improved.” [5]

The C-17 carries a payload of 164,900 pounds for 2,400 miles and 100,300 pounds for 4,000 miles without refueling.

In late August the U.S. signed a $170 million deal to supply India with 24 Harpoon Block II advanced air-to-surface anti-ship missiles.

This February the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Obama administration, with a renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific region, intends to massively increase arms sales to both India and its nuclear rival Pakistan. U.S. military sales to Pakistan have risen to $3 billion a year and are expected to nearly double in 2011.

As for its neighbor, “India is one of the largest buyers of foreign-made munitions, with a long shopping list which includes warships, fighter jets, tanks and other weapons. Its defense budget is $30 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, a 70% increase from five years ago.” [