Indian Army Disapproves FMS Deals with United States

By admin • May 27th, 2010

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India Defence Online, New Delhi – In a startling turnaround of attitude coupled with growing dissent over the FMS (foreign military sales) purchases that India has been pursuing with the US, the Indian Army has cautioned the Indian Defence Ministry that it will be wary of all future defence procurements from US.

The Indian Army Chief General V K Singh has conveyed to the Defence Minister A K Antony that the major defence procurements from the US through the FMS route have several shortcomings.

According to sources, the Indian Army has proposed the appointment of corporate lawyers familiar with international negotiations and contracts to help them assess all future defence contracts in order to avert further inconsistencies.

The sudden decision to monitor the FMS route with the US comes at a time when two major defence acquisitions are on the verge of finalisation. These two purchases include one for the Indian Army which is to buy 145 ultra light howitzers worth about $647 million and the IAF’s planned acquisition of ten C-17 transport aircraft at a cost of over $2.2 billion.

The Indian Army top brass has also accused that the maintenance of a dozen weapon-locating radars bought from the US firm Raytheon through the FMS route has been a source of major problem to the Indian Army. Most of these radars require maintenance at any given time due to constant troubleshooting.

India has been making major defence procurements from the US through the FMS route since 2002. The FMS route basically implies non-tender purchases wherein the US government procures the equipment on behalf of the Indian government from its military companies and takes a commission for the services rendered through the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).

The total contract value of US systems bought under the FMS deal runs into several billion dollars since India has been acquiring major US equipment and weaponry. The major acquisition include the $2.21 billion purchase of eight Boeing P-8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft, the $962 million deal for six C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for IAF and the $88 million for USS Trenton and accompanying helicopters for the Indian Navy.

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