India and the US are set to sign a significant defence deal worth $4.3 Bn for 30 US-made helicopters during President Donald Trump’s state visit on 24-25 February 2020.
As per media reports, PM Modi-led India Government has given the green light to a defence deal with the US for procuring Apache attack helicopters and multirole Naval helicopters during Trump’s visit. The deal will set the ground running for a bigger trade deal in the near future, as hinted by President Trump recently.
The US has been unable to formalize any defence contracts with India since 2017. Before that, it had sold India military equipment and weapons worth $17 bn in the last decade. However, the latest news gives fresh impetus to the US’ push to increase trade links with India. The defence contract is expected to be signed when President Trump meets PM Modi in India next week.
Initial Deal for 30 Helicopters Approved
The Indian Cabinet Committee on Security, which is headed by PM Modi, approved the contract which will procure 6 Apache helicopters and 24 MH-60R multi Role naval helicopters (MRH) from the US for $ 4.3 billion.
The defence deal will see India procure 6 Apache helicopters and 24 MH-60R multi Role naval helicopters (MRH) from the US for $ 4.3 billion.
The signing of the said contract has stretched out from April 2019 over the final price. The aircraft part of the deal will strengthen India’s prowess in reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.
Big Trade Deal to come later in the year
Furthermore, in a recent address, US President Trump suggested that while he won’t be signing any big trade deal during his visit, he is indeed saving “the big trade deal” for later in the year. However, he did mention that there might be some small deals between India and the US, which may include the defence deal, on the table that will be inked during Trump’s visit. At Joint Base Andrews, Trump told reporters, “We can have a trade deal with India. But I’m really saving the big deal for later.”
The US President also said that he thinks India doesn’t treat the US very well, but he “happens to like Prime Minister Modi a lot.” He also said that a very big trade deal with India was on the table but wasn’t sure whether pen will be put to paper before the US Presidential Elections 2020. President Trump has a full schedule for his India visit where he will be in Ahmedabad with PM Modi for the Kemcho Trump event. The POTUS will also visit the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world.