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India to buy howitzers worth $737m from US

Updated Nov 24, 2016 07:55am


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WASHINGTON: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has finally cleared the long-pending purchase of 145 M777 ultra-light howitzers from the United States, the US media reported on Monday.

The $737 million arms deal is part of a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement between the United States and India, which aims to promote greater defence cooperation between the two countries.

The Pentagon’s FMS programme facilitates sales of US defence equipment and services to foreign governments.

Under the arrangement, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency serves as an intermediary, handling procurement, logistics and delivery of the purchased equipment.

“The contract will be signed within the next two months, and the deliveries are expected to start in mid-2017,” an Indian defence official told reporters in New Delhi.

“India is certainly looking forward for a much greater defence partnership under the leadership with newly elected US President Donald Trump,” the official said.

The official also told reporters that the artillery pieces would help India target militant bases inside Pakistan without crossing the border and that’s why acquiring the howitzers was a top priority. “It will be a game changer,” he added.

Last year, the Indian Ministry of Defence approved a proposal to buy M777A2 (LW155) howitzers from the US only after a commitment from the manufacturers to set up assembly, integration and test (AIT) facilities in India to boost India’s domestic defence industry.

Under the arrangement, US subsidiary of BAE Systems will dispatch 25 M777 artillery guns in fly-away condition; remaining guns will be assembled in India in partnership with private sector company Mahindra Defence Systems.

“Developing a supply chain in India is key to our vision to develop technologies and solutions in India for both the home market and for export,” the US manufacturer said.

The two companies will jointly set up an AIT facility for M777 artillery guns near New Delhi.

The Indian Army has not inducted any type of 155mm howitzers since 1986. The army is seeking a total of 220 ultra-light howitzers over the next 15 years.

The M777 is a 155mm 39-calibre towed gun which enables rapid deployment and accurate artillery fire support. It is the world’s first 155mm Howitzer weighing less than 4,218kg.

Highly mobile on land, at sea and in the air, the M777 has increased survivability through tactical and strategic mobility, low thermal and radar signature, rapid emplacement/displacement and low silhouette.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2016


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Comments (71) Closed

khanm Nov 23, 2016 12:44pm

The ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger... the irony is...A weapon does not decide whether or not to kill. A weapon is a manifestation of a decision that has already been made. GOOD LUCK..

kiamal Pasha Nov 23, 2016 12:45pm

U.S. will be friend until you buy arms from them and never say NO to them.

Sk Nov 23, 2016 12:50pm

Good move

GREAT Nov 23, 2016 01:12pm

Great decision. Now we can see an active government.

raja Nov 23, 2016 01:14pm

@kiamal Pasha usa will be friend unless you are a dictatorship. Usa' friendship with pakistan Iran Iraq and plenty of countries in Africa and south America, all dictatorships, is different then it's friendship with democracies around the world.

ashutosh mishra Nov 23, 2016 01:16pm

@kiamal Pasha thats the reason we will have them in our pocket by maintaining excellent relations with their opponents such as Russia as well as China and Iran as you must've noticed.

Vectra Nov 23, 2016 01:22pm

@kiamal Pasha Every one in this world are others friend as long as their own interests are fulfilled,so US is no exemption and so are others.

Neeraj Nov 23, 2016 01:26pm

Spread Peace ! India & Pakistan should be like US & Canada, India & Pakistan Should help each other instead killing each other, nobody will get benefit out of that !

mandy Nov 23, 2016 01:30pm

You can buy anything in the world if you have money.

Masoud Nov 23, 2016 01:39pm

Has Bofor guns already rotted, what a waste of resources.

Akram the great Nov 23, 2016 01:40pm

@khanm wow...such deep thoughts..

Vectra Nov 23, 2016 02:05pm

@Masoud No Bofors are not rotted and are extremely successful machine whose upgraded versions are built by India in India itself and have been inducted in Indian forces as well.This M777 is mere new addition to Indian arsenl that complement the existing Bofors not supplement them.

Steel Nov 23, 2016 02:07pm

@khanm Beautifully put

Pakistani Nov 23, 2016 02:21pm

This is an unwise sale given the Indian Ary just murdered 9 civilians in Azad Kashmir usng such guns.

The US is on the wrong side of humanity and international law on this one!

BNJ Nov 23, 2016 02:25pm

@khanm You have left me speechless with the last line you wrote ' A weapon is a manifestation of a decision that has already been made' . Amazing lines!!!Wow!

Ashwin Nov 23, 2016 02:37pm

Even if dollor is taken as low as 50 rupee, still 737m comes to be 3685 crore rupees. Isn't it a huge amount ? Feels bad. We can spend on much better things.

rama Nov 23, 2016 02:44pm

To KHANM:-Weapon is tool to enforce rule of law and discipline in civilized country.....

jaydeep Nov 23, 2016 02:49pm

@Masoud Well my friend I do agree with you, We Indians need roads,sanitation , education and dozens of other basic necessities . I stay in New Delhi and see so many people sleeping on roads , This money could be well spent on uplifting people , Giving them a good life , but alas what is it spent on some piece of weaponry that can only be used to kill people . You're right what a waste of resources.

kerala Nov 23, 2016 02:54pm

Hail Modiji . . .and thanks to the entire establishment.proud to be an Indian

Peace Nov 23, 2016 02:55pm

This extremist PM has bad priorities.First solve poverty,women rights,Toilets,intolerance and much more in your country.He is not even 1 percent of Sir Gandhi.

El Cid Nov 23, 2016 02:59pm

US best. Well tested in Iraq and Afghanistan. Highly mobile by land/sea/ air, the M777 is unsurpassed in tactical & strategic mobility. Has low thermal & radar signature, rapid emplacement / displacement, low silhouette.

OSO Nov 23, 2016 03:04pm

@khanm much truth in your words

Monsieur S Nov 23, 2016 03:12pm

@khanm 'buy' is the key word here ... the country doesn't matter

Satya Nov 23, 2016 03:17pm

@Peace , Correct. He is not even 1% of Gandhi..But in the current situation we don't really need a Gandhi here. Modi is what the country needs NOW.

Gem Khan Nov 23, 2016 03:23pm

Poor India. Can't make it by itself at home.

Bino Nov 23, 2016 03:32pm

@Gem Khan Poor India is on Mars

Vithal Nov 23, 2016 03:41pm

India or Hindustan was ruled by foreigners for more than 1000 years. What did it got in return?.

nooneabovethelaw Nov 23, 2016 03:42pm

Instead of solving the Kashmir problem directly with Pakistan, India has taken the long route.

khanman Nov 23, 2016 03:51pm

no offence but as they say its not the man behind the machine

atif khan Nov 23, 2016 03:53pm

thats what they do, keep the tension between two entities high so that hardware can be sold. hope our high qualified politician can think that too.

PM Nov 23, 2016 03:57pm

@Masoud : Bororse is out dated. We have made our own gun which is more powerful than Boforse but also require more powerful weapon like this one with more range.

PM Nov 23, 2016 04:05pm

@jaydeep : This money can not be spent on those people sleeping on road. Thats a separate issue. Dont relate it with this. We have more money and funds for that. People who sleep on road will always sleep on road as it is adjacent to their livelihood. It was tried earlier to provide them with houses but it is seen that they put those houses on rent or sale and again sleep on roads.

PM Nov 23, 2016 04:21pm

@nooneabovethelaw : What do you think? What could be the probable solution?

Suprabh Nov 23, 2016 04:24pm

@Ashwin defence is equally important than other stuffs dude. .and morever India is a defender..not an aggressor

AHA Nov 23, 2016 04:36pm

Right deal, right price and right time

The end is near Nov 23, 2016 04:41pm

Good job India. Keep it up.

A Shah Nov 23, 2016 05:17pm

A superpower in the making

khanm Nov 23, 2016 05:18pm

@rama ....My pal civilized country does not need weapons... May be in India and Pakistan there are millions of writers who could stop the destruction of civilizations...Pal. unfortunately we have become self destructive... We seldom realize, for example that our most private thoughts and emotions are not actually our own. For we think in terms of languages, religions and images which we did not invent, but which were given to us by our society....

A Shah Nov 23, 2016 05:20pm

India has just made a $100billion by wiping out the black money. So time to go shopping.

Rama Nov 23, 2016 05:23pm

@kerala hail Modiji !!

khalil Nov 23, 2016 05:27pm

Ahh it makes sense now. USA will clean sweep indian bank accounts.this is why they made friends with india! Another east india company inthe making but with a different agenda......sell weapons till they have nothing left.

Oz Nov 23, 2016 05:43pm

This is the reason why both countries are fighting, between our personal disagreement, there is an issue of suppliers who are the winners in this all. Pity that even the most educated liberals and technocrats across both sides not fight the common enemy and keep cutting their own arms and legs.

Horus Nov 23, 2016 05:45pm

Had both of our countries been at peace and lived like brothers, we would have progressed greater than Usa or China. Hope all of us understand . The west and China are prospering because of our battles.

Black Hawk Nov 23, 2016 05:56pm

@khanm : Nice lines.

Guldar Nov 23, 2016 06:03pm

Great job by Mr. Modi. I like this man, he is developing India by all. Great PM.

Ikram Nov 23, 2016 06:11pm

Its just astonishing how excited the population od both India and Pakistan get when a weapon deal goes through! Does any one realise the fact that the weapons race is intended to kill you and your loved ones

Syed hasnain Nov 23, 2016 07:26pm

I wonder Pakistan will do something about now before it's too late

Syed hasnain Nov 23, 2016 07:30pm

@rama spend on peace and people

Syed hasnain Nov 23, 2016 07:30pm

Mode Govt is a war monger Pakistan will have to follow suit

Ali Nov 23, 2016 08:11pm

PM Modi is obsessed with war mongering, spending another $737 million for more guns. Where will he use it? Against China? No chance. Against Pakistan? No chance. India's overwhelming conventional weapons advantage is blunted by Pakistan's nuclear weapon's capability.

If these guns are ever fired on Pakistan or any other military adventurism will invite swift retaliation which will escalate to a nuclear war. Therefore, PM Modi must abandon such insanity, and instead be a leader for "peace, stability and friendship". That would be a world leader and statesman.

Rehan Nov 23, 2016 08:39pm

Sounds like typical Indian Movie

shafqat a mir Nov 23, 2016 10:09pm

@jaydeep finally the truth nothing but the truth, myself pakistani who believes

in peace and harmony, i always say make love not war. stop this mania

Zak Nov 23, 2016 11:14pm

@Horus had India honoured the UN resolution on kashmir plebiscite in 1948, which it signed, we all would be living in peace.

Hopeful Nov 23, 2016 11:50pm

Business must go on.

Neo Nov 24, 2016 01:25am

@Masoud - nope, they were effectively used in kargil.. now just resting out.. our new howitzers will take place... bofors will be brought in when its time.

Shekar Kurudi Nov 24, 2016 05:53am

@khanm love your comment.

Singh Nov 24, 2016 11:23am

@khanm well said

Kamal Nov 24, 2016 12:52pm

@khanman and also the quality of opposition

anand Nov 24, 2016 04:54pm

@Satya ..Wow Satya.. truly said..

Kabob bob Nov 25, 2016 07:08am

@raja what the heck are you talking about? We, the usa have supported many dictators into power. You do not know your history too well.

Chacha Jee Nov 25, 2016 10:33am

Sorry fellas, Kashmir gives India $40 billion dollars budget which is likey to be $100 billion in 10 years. Kashmir brings in a lot of security related jobs, defense production plants, research and a lot of goodwill in foreign countries, and of course, aa lot of corruption $.

Adil Jadoon Nov 25, 2016 10:45am

@A Shah india has??? How does it benegit the people??? What percentage of people in India live below the poverty level???

TRUEMANN Nov 25, 2016 11:38am

@Adil Jadoon - 21% now and rapidly coming down as we speak.

The Fake ZAK Nov 25, 2016 11:51am

@Zak - read the UN resolution PLEASE.

riz1 Nov 25, 2016 12:54pm

Hope and pray that our government gets more pragmatic and honest before its too late, ditto with our establishment. All the very best to our subcontinent.

sri1 Nov 25, 2016 01:04pm

Hmmm, before the British came to our subcontinent, the Chinese and undivided India had 55% of the world GDP between them, in spite of all the loot and plunder carted away to faraway shores. If you do not believe, please refer to the Maddison project initiated by renowned economist and European researcher Angus Maddison. The 26% of world GDP for India as compared to 2% of world GDP for Britain had reversed by the time the British left India. Any wonder why India was called the "Golden bird" with empires from far and wide coming to conquer it? Today again India is getting there, and this time as a much stronger democracy with better unity and purpose.

Badshah Khan Nov 25, 2016 03:14pm

I don't understand why Indians and Pakistanis get all happy over weapon purchases. You guys do understand that the next war will be a nuclear war right??. So when the nukes drop a majority of both countries population will be dead. Now let's say you survive there will be such limited resources that Indians will kill Indians for food and Pakistanis will kill pakistanis for food. Then the air will have soo much radiation that more people will die. The only people that will be sitting back and laughing will be the countries that made money selling us these weapons. Oh and modi and nawaz will be sitting in other countries while you guys are dying. Now do you guys know that US and Canada have more then 1 piece of land that is under dispute. The US spends trillions on military canada doesn't because it's a peaceful country. Canada and the US have solved more then 1 dispute. How did the do it?. They sat down and talked about it and/or went to court. This is what we need to do sit and talk.

Sukhera Nov 25, 2016 07:37pm

Who is the real winner of this transaction of almost one billion dollars? Of course, American company which manufatures these long range guns. India will be dependent on the American company for the parts and maintainenace as long as they are in operation. The company is already working on an advanved model.After few years , they will become obsolte when a better/advanced model is developed.USA slapped sanctions on India when it exploded neclear device few decades ago. India,s development of a jet fighter locally was shelved for lack of engines and millions of dollars investment in the project was lost for ever. Now,If India does not tow American policy which will agonize Russia, US will exert pressure by not allowing the export of parts. India may be feeling good at this time but long term consequences will hurt the country. You can,t maintain good relations with Russia while purchasing US arms when most of the military hardware in the country is Russian origin.

FRQ Nov 26, 2016 12:30pm

The Indian Army has also announced plans to acquire 145 guns for 30 billion but purchase plans were overtaken when the procurement process was restarted in July 2010. India's Ministry of Defence cleared the proposal for buying 145 guns on 11 May 2012.This would be put up before the Ministry of Finance for clearance and will subsequently be taken up by the Cabinet Committee.On 2 August 2013, India requested the sale of 145 M777 howitzers for $885 million.On 24 February 2014 the purchase was again postponed.On 11 May 2014 the purchase was cleared by India's Defence ministry. On 11 July 2014, the Govt announced that it would not order the guns because of cost issues. On 22 Nov 2014, the selection process was restarted under the "Make In India" program.On 13 May 2015, The defence ministry approved Rs 2,900 crore to buy 145 American M-777. On 15 Dec 2015, the Ministry of Defence said it was keen on placing a follow-up order of 500 M777 guns.

Are you guys really sure to buy this time???

Alba Nov 26, 2016 10:12pm

Defense cooperation has a price tag.

Alba Nov 26, 2016 10:27pm

@Pakistani .... How could they be used in Kashmir if India has not purchased them yet?