New Delhi: In yet another move towards stronger military diplomacy, the United States yesterday gave its approval for a $155-million sale of Harpoon missiles and lightweight torpedoes to India.
The Donald J. Trump administration notified the US Congress of its determination to sell 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air launched missiles, estimated to be $92 million and another 16 MK 54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes, and three MK 54 Exercise Torpedoes, estimated to cost $63 million.
The sale determination, made by the US State Department following Indian requests for the two military hardware, was notified through the Defense Security Cooperation Agency in two separate notifications to the Congress.
According to the Pentagon, the Harpoon missile system and the torpedoes will be integrated into the P-8I aircraft to conduct anti-surface warfare missions in defence of critical sea lanes while enhancing interoperability with the US and other allied forces.
“India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence. India will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces,” the Pentagon said.
The proposed sale, it said, will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems. The MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo will provide the capability to conduct anti-submarine warfare missions.
In both the notifications, the Pentagon said that the proposed sale of these equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.
The proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-India strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defence partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
In February, the Trump administration had also approved a $1.87-billion sale of an air defence weapon system to India that is expected to boost the modernisation efforts of the armed forces and help in expanding the South Asian nation’s air defence architecture for major cities like capital New Delhi.