After emerging as one of the top arms supplier to India over the last decade with nearly $8-billion worth of deals, the US is expecting to further hike its military sales to the South Asian nation in 2013 too, building on the boost in the bilateral ties between the two countries and the successful visit of American Defence Secretary Leon Panetta to New Delhi last week.
"We are hopeful that arms sales to India will increase. We’ve made tremendous progress in the relationship over the last decade. We went from nearly zero sales to about $8 billion in sales,” Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro was quoted as saying in a media conference.
"Going forward, there’s a number of tenders which we hope we’re successful on, including a tender for Apache (attack) helicopters. We continue to advocate for them, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be successful on a number of sales over the coming year with India,” Shapiro said.
Apart from the tender for 22 attack helicopters in India, US Defence firms are also competing in 15 heavy lift helicopters tenders with their Chinook choppers.
These apart, the US, just a few weeks ago, was chosen by the Indian Defence ministry to supply 145 M777 ultra light howitzers, a final deal under the foreign military sales routes is likely to be signed within a couple of months.
Further, the US is also likely to supply India with its Javelin anti-tank weapon in the near future.
In the last decade, US has won several deals such as 12 P8-I maritime patrol planes, 10 C-17 heavy lift transport planes, six C-130J special forces transport plane, apart from allied weapons systems and other equipment for these flying machines.
Noting that in 2012, the US had already surpassed $50-billion in foreign military sales, Shapiro said this represented at least a $20-billion increase over fiscal year 2011.
"We still have more than a quarter of the fiscal year left,” he said.
The recent years have seen tremendous growth and sales with developing countries and emerging powers such as Brazil and India, he added.
"This speaks volumes about our diplomatic efforts,” he said.
"To put this in context, fiscal year 2011 was a record-setting year at just over $30 billion. This fiscal year will be at least 70 per cent greater than fiscal year 2011. These sales support tens of thousands of American jobs, which is welcome news for the economy,” he said.
The US agreement to expand its security cooperation with Saudi Arabia, in December last year, is likely to have a significant impact on the US economy, supporting over 50,000 jobs.
The $29.4-billion sale to Saudi Arabia included 84 advanced F-15SA fighter aircraft, upgrades to current fleet of 70 F-15 aircraft, as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics.
This will also bring business to over 600 suppliers in 44 states and provide $3.5-billion in annual economic impact to the US economy.
The deal with Saudi Arabia will support jobs not only in the aerospace sector, but also in US' manufacturing base and support chain, all crucial for sustaining their national Defence.
US also has business from Japan to sell Joint Strike Fighter for about $10 billion, Shapiro said.