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India signs $750m deal for purchase of 145 US howitzers

Updated Dec 02, 2016 01:59pm


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NEW DELHI: India has signed a $750 million agreement with the United States to buy 145 howitzer artillery guns from BAE Systems, an official said on Thursday, its first such deal in three decades.

India, the world’s number one defence importer, is updating its military capabilities with hardware worth tens of billions of dollars in the face of long-standing tensions with China and Pakistan.

It has been in discussions since 2012 to buy BAE Systems’ M777 ultra-lightweight guns through the US Foreign Military Sales programme.

“India has signed the letter of acceptance which formalises the contract between India and the US for the howitzer guns,” a defence official said in New Delhi.

The deal, worth nearly 50 billion rupees, will see 25 guns being delivered in ready-to-use condition with the rest being assembled in India, the official said.

The howitzers, with a maximum range of 30 kilometres, will be used by the army’s mountain artillery divisions along India’s high-altitude frontiers.

India has fought three wars with arch-rival Pakistan since independence in 1947, but China is increasingly seen as the main focus of its ambitious military modernisation and procurement policy.

India last purchased howitzers for the army in 1986, when it bought 410 field guns from the Swedish arms giant AB Bofors.

The Bofors deal became mired in corruption allegations and cost then Congress Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi the 1989 national elections.

BAE Systems said in February it had chosen India’s Mahindra group to build a plant for assembling the artillery guns.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he wants foreign manufacturers that win lucrative hardware deals to invest in India by partnering with local firms.

“The first two howitzers should be delivered within the next six months,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2016


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Comments (52) Closed

IBM Dec 02, 2016 09:30am

tens of billions of dollars.......wonder what Pakistan will spend!

ART KP Dec 02, 2016 10:08am

@IBM 750 million, not tens ob billions and there is a difference between singing deals and paying for it.

India signed to pay 500 million dollars for chahbahar port but never paid and work hasn't even begun.

Desi Dimag Dec 02, 2016 10:20am

India needs to protect her growing economy.

khanm Dec 02, 2016 11:53am

@Desi Dimag ...where do u see the growth..average income is less than 5 dollars a a matter of fact India n Pakistan should spend on people.on their welfare. Not on warfare.on human resources and that is the real security..

pm Dec 02, 2016 12:02pm

modis geovernment have fastest groing economy and bold dicisions........

Omar Sadiq Dec 02, 2016 12:18pm

On one hand, Modi has his public lined up in bank and atm ques, which is just a distraction for the public. While on the other hand, his RSS govt is awarding contract by the billion of $'s to appease his local and foreign masters. Bravo! Pakistan, don't be fooled by this madman's maniacal steps and just sit still; He is on the path to ruination of his own country. Time is not away that the Indian public will be dragging and throwing slippers towards this RSS brainwashed and foreign sponsored individual and his team.

Sohail Khan Dec 02, 2016 12:21pm

It's sad that they'll use it against theirs neighbors. But it's a good news that they can't make it at home.

Musa Dec 02, 2016 12:27pm

Omar Sadiq, don't you think we would have done the same if we had money? Be honest to yourself.

BNJ Dec 02, 2016 12:33pm

@Omar Sadiq This demonetization activity in India has made even staunch critic of BJP(that includes me too!), praise the PM. It took me 4 hrs to deposit my old 500 & 1000 rupee notes in my bank but i didn't see anyone abusing the move by the PM. All the 'Shor-sharaba' that you see is the hype created by media,nothing else.

Kamal PASHA Dec 02, 2016 12:50pm

As per Indian reports, India's external debt is $ 500 billions. Competition with China has already bankrupt India. Arms manufacureres are making money by creating rifts amongst the nations.

Dania Dec 02, 2016 01:20pm

This is quite disturbing to see that the locals of the same country are living their lives in woes, and the government seems to be busy in gaining military might just in case to counter the very active presence of China in South Asia and Pakistan being its historic arch rival. This is quite insane on part of India that it is trying to balance itself with China which is long road to go for India. No matter USA is also rebalancing itself in the same region while favoring India in the same domain.

aaa Dec 02, 2016 01:28pm

@Kamal PASHA senseless talk of yours. the fastest growing major economy. 3rd largest GDP(PPP) & 7 largest GDP(nominal) and u r taking of bancrupsy. go checkout the meaning of bankrupsy first.

subh Dec 02, 2016 01:42pm

@Kamal PASHA You first decide who is India competing with - China or Pakistan?

TRUTH Dec 02, 2016 01:44pm

@Kamal PASHA See who is talking about debt and defence spending. You have to consider debt vs GDP ratio. or Debt vs Forex reserve.

The end is near Dec 02, 2016 02:11pm

India; The emerging Super Power.

Arham Dec 02, 2016 02:21pm

India needs to uplift the social conditions of World's largest number of population that lives under the poverty line in India. India should be a social welfare state not security conscious state.

Waseem Sarwar Dec 02, 2016 02:35pm

If purchasing expensive tools of war made a country super power then Saudi Arabia would have been the biggest power on globe. Pakistan will now turn towards China for something similar hence money which could have been spent on something useful, will go towards weapons manufacturers.

Coolmind Dec 02, 2016 02:36pm

Make in India with transfer of technology, great news for manufacturing jobs

Zak from panama Dec 02, 2016 02:39pm

@The end is near " India emerging Super Power "

By accumulating war weapons India can't become Super Power .

Take a example of Pakistan ....CPEC is the formidable combination of long term relationship and tangible capital assets which will give sustainable position of the world leadership to Pakistan.

A World Leader ...not illusive Super Power !!

JARB Dec 02, 2016 02:48pm

The howitzer guns are going to leave around a lot of burning smell.

tochi Dec 02, 2016 02:53pm

@Kamal PASHA India's external debt is 26% of its gdp & Pak's is 65% of gdp. Bird brain why cant u use Google to know this simple fact.

KH Dec 02, 2016 03:00pm

@Omar Sadiq, Modi is a statesman who takes solid decisions with visions.

Global Peace Dec 02, 2016 03:00pm

@Kamal PASHA yes but you need to check the ratio to GDP. 500 billion is the debt but what is the GDP ?

Defaa ho Singh Dec 02, 2016 03:04pm

30 years later!

Ansu Dec 02, 2016 03:03pm

@Kamal PASHA Grapes are sour. In the next 10 years, India will be highest economy country in world

zf Dec 02, 2016 03:06pm

@Desi Dimag : against who? which economy?

zf Dec 02, 2016 03:07pm

@subh : that's for you to figure out. can't compete against everyone. get real. even US is having a hard time against China. who are you again?

Fullyfaltoo Dec 02, 2016 03:27pm

India is upgrading its defense capabilities to compete with china. I don't think It's worried too much about Pakistan.

Lol Dec 02, 2016 03:44pm

Great news

Max Dec 02, 2016 03:50pm

@khanm Give your wonderful ideas to your govt and see what comes out. :)

Kangri pehlwan Dec 02, 2016 04:07pm


Umair Dec 02, 2016 04:08pm

Leaders should be well aware of their ego driven decisions that has devastating results for a major group of people for the years to come.

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Dec 02, 2016 04:35pm

What else can it do to consolidate, reinforce and augment its hegemonic mindset and expansionist policies in the world in general and South Asia in particular?

Rabia Dec 02, 2016 04:42pm

Helping a country who is fomenting terrorism in meighbouring countries.

Zak Dec 02, 2016 05:10pm

@IBM tens of billions of dollors...wonder what the poor and starving in india will eat....?

Gurmeet Singh Dec 02, 2016 05:15pm

We pay, US receives, we can't fight anyone, item rusts away, then we go to buy again and the cycle repays itself. Welfare of people suffers. Pointless act.

Akbaruddin Dec 02, 2016 05:46pm

@ART KP Work has already begun for Chabhabar and its set to be completed by 2018 start btw.

Soj Dec 02, 2016 06:05pm

@Zak Don worry.India will take care of its poor.

aslam shaikh1 Dec 02, 2016 06:24pm

Pakistan will only need 145 soldiers to take care of these $750m guns

AXH Dec 02, 2016 06:45pm

Is this how much India afraid of the Kashmiri freedom fight that it is now buying this type pf hardware to deal with it?

Ghaznavi Dec 02, 2016 06:44pm

These arms will be used to target Pakistani civilians and further lower the nuclear threshold in the region. Though it will create more US jobs and boost US economy.

Razzaq Dec 02, 2016 06:49pm

@aslam shaikh1 Let's not live in fantasy world.

Yasio Dec 02, 2016 07:06pm

@The end is near Emerging supper power? India is buying guns not selling :)

Indus civilization Dec 02, 2016 07:32pm

Additional news: 20 will be brought in ready condition and rest 125 will be made in India in partnership with Mahindra. "Make in India" initiative. Thus India will make it in HOME.

Omar Dec 02, 2016 08:07pm

Keep wasting your money on nonsense !

zak Dec 02, 2016 08:14pm

@Soj How? buying arms does not feed the teeming poor. Besides India's gargantuan debt now reaching $ 500 billion has the international community worried.

zak Dec 02, 2016 08:17pm

@Zak from panama We dont want leadership, but peace, harmony and welfare for our people and other nations as well. It is others who value us, we dont ask for it. That is why all three super powers is our friends.

Soj Dec 02, 2016 09:08pm

@zak The debt should be compared with size of gdp. Moreover you have no business thinking about poor in India.

Atheist Dec 02, 2016 10:09pm

Govt's job is not to feed people but create jobs so that they can feed themselves. You need to get out of stupid socialist and communist mentality otherwise you'll always be poor and looking for handouts. India while securing itself also creating high paying jobs with the offset clauses.

FAR Dec 02, 2016 10:23pm

Wiki...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 Defence ministry said it was keen on placing a follow-up order of 500 M777 guns.

Are you guys really sure to buy this time?

Modi Dec 02, 2016 10:25pm

My gosh, these Indians are absolutely obsessed with Pakistan.

Hasmukh khan Dec 02, 2016 10:49pm

This is just the beginning. In the next 2 years, you will see plenty of it with 3/4th of it deployed in kashmir.