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Thursday, November 21, 2019, 17:30
US approves US$1 billion sale of naval guns to India
By Bloomberg
Thursday, November 21, 2019, 17:30 By Bloomberg

This US Navy photo obtained Jan 14, 2015 shows the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett conducts a live-fire exercise with its MK 45 5-inch 54/62 caliber gun on Jan 11, 2015 in the Gulf. (ERIC COFFER / US NAVY / AFP)

The US government has approved the sale of naval guns worth US$1 billion to India in the biggest defense deal between the two countries in four years.

The purchase is part of Modi's plan to spend US$250 billion by 2025 to modernize the armed forces

Putting the US among the top three global arms suppliers to India, the State Department notified the Congress on Nov 19 of the possible foreign military sale of as many as 13 naval guns made by the Minneapolis-based BAE Systems Land and Armaments.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had made a request to buy the MK 45 naval guns and 3,500 D349 ammunition from the US government, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency notice said.

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The MK-45 Gun System allows India's navy to conduct anti-surface warfare and anti-air defense missions, while enhancing interoperability with US and other allied forces.

The proposed sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region -- instead it will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by improving the security of a strategic regional partner, the notice said.

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'Future Threats'

The proposed sale will improve India's capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems. India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense.

The purchase is part of Modi's plan to spend US$250 billion by 2025 to modernize the armed forces. 

Since 2007, US has notched up defense deals worth US$17 billion with India, competing with traditional arms suppliers Russia and Israel to complete the top three slots.

In the 12 years, the US has sold the Boeing Co C-17 Globemaster long-range transport aircraft, Lockheed Martin C-130 Super Hercules special cargo aircraft, M777 ultra light howitzers, Apache gunship and Chinook cargo helicopters and more to India, which is listed by SIPRI as the second largest arms importer globally in 2018.

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