04 January 2017
India is set to finalize a $660 million deal for mobile heavy artillery weapons — its third major gun purchase in the past year and a sign Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s defense spending spree is far from over, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
The deal, expected to be approved in a cabinet decision in the coming days after extended commercial price negotiations, is a big win for Larsen & Toubro Ltd., a major Indian infrastructure and engineering company which partnered with South Korea’s Hanwha Techwin to modify the howitzer for local conditions.
It’s part of Modi’s $250 billion push to modernize the armed forces and overcome a 30-year lapse in its firepower procurement program, as India prepares to counter potential threats from Pakistan and China. Plans to buy new equipment from overseas have been held back by bureaucratic delays and the military’s desire to balance the needs of troops against efforts to have equipment built domestically under Modi’s “Make in India” program.
…Artillery modernization is long overdue, said Anit Mukherjee, assistant professor in the South Asia Program at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
“Once these are inducted, these will give significant capabilities to the Indian military, both in the mountains and in the plains.” After the cabinet approves the deal, it could take two-to-four years before the weapons are delivered to India, he said.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 04/01/2017