Washington: In a boost to Indian defence forces in the prevailing tension on the borders, the US approved the sale of Harpoon Joint Common Test Set (JCTS) and related equipment to India for an estimated cost of US$ 82 million.
This would also help strengthen the bilateral strategic ties and improve the security of a major defensive partner in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) delivered the required certification notifying the US Congress of this possible sale on August 2, according to an official statement.
The Indian Government had requested to buy one Harpoon Joint Common Test Set (JCTS). Also included is one Harpoon Intermediate Level maintenance station; spare and repair parts, support, and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; personnel training; US Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and programme support. The estimated total cost is US$ 82 million, it said.
This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region, the DSCA release said.
During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US in June 2016, the US recognised India as a “Major Defence Partner”, which commits the U.S. to facilitate technology sharing with India to a level commensurate with that of its closest allies and partners, and industry collaboration for defence co-production and co-development.
The proposed Foreign Military Sale, the State Department said, will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats by providing it with flexible and efficient Harpoon missile maintenance capabilities to ensure maximum force readiness.
Noting that India will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces, the Pentagon said the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. “The principal contractor will be The Boeing Company, St. Louis, Missouri. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Any offset agreement required by India will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s),” it said.
The Harpoon, first deployed in 1977, is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system. It has a low-level, sea-skimming cruise trajectory with active radar guidance, according to Boeing. The Harpoon missile is the world’s most successful anti-ship missile and is in service with the armed forces of more than 30 countries, according to the US defence major.