The Trump administration has approved a deal to sell six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to India for $930 million as well as Hellfire and Stinger missiles to bolster the country’s ability to defend its homeland and deter “regional threats”, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
The Pentagon’s notification to the Congress comes ahead of the first 2+2 dialogue between India and the US next month in Washington DC involving External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and their American counterparts Mike Pompeo and James Mattis.Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified the Congress about the State Department’s decision.
The sale is expected to pass through if no lawmaker opposes the notification. The contract also includes fire control radars, Hellfire Longbow missiles, Stinger Block I-92H missiles, night vision sensors and inertial navigation systems.
Bilateral defence trade between India and the United States has risen from near zero to USD 15 billion since 2008. In 2016, India was awarded the status of a US major defence partner which allows India to receive license-free access to a wide range of military and dual-use technologies that are regulated by the Department of Commerce.
The two countries also agreed to an updated ten-year Defence Framework Agreement in June 2015 to guide and expand their bilateral defence and strategic partnership until 2025.