India Finalizes Arms Deal with France and Russia
Presidential visits to India by France’s Nicolas Sarkozy and Russia’s Dmitry Medvedev this month sent Indian defense officials in a race to finalize a series of arms contracts worth tens of billions of pounds.
Up to £100bn will be spent on weapons systems, technology, planes, ships, and submarines over the next five years in an ambitious attempt to modernize India’s military.
Albeit its tensions with Pakistan, India turns its attention to China for fear of being outgunned.
The Indian market has sparked interest from western leaders to win lucrative deals for their ailing economies. According to India’s state news agency, Russia had offered its latest low-noise Amur-1650 class submarines to India estimated to be a £6bn deal.
Paris is keen to persuade Delhi to expand its current programme of building French-designed submarines rather than opt for a new contract with Moscow.
A £22.5bn joint agreement between Delhi and Moscow is by far the biggest deal in developing a “fifth-generation” advanced fighter jet. This agreement will likely be signed during Medvedev’s pre-Christmas visit. It will see the two nations collaborating on the design and production of the aircraft.
Sarkozy’s visit next week hopes to lobby Delhi to buy more than 120 Rafale fighter jets for about £8bn next year. The Russians are also eager to win the Contract.
The two aircraft projects combined will cost India the equivalent of its entire education budge for the next seven years. A third of adults in India are illiterate.
President Barack Obama's recent visit finalized deals for transport aircraft and other military equipment worth several billion pounds. Washington claims they created thousands of jobs.