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2014-02-11

Boosting defence trade: US aim to expand weapons sales to India

US has already made \\\"tremendous progress\\\" in expanding weapons sales to India since 2008, and US companies could see \\\"billions of dollars\\\" in additional sales in coming years, a senior US State Department official said.

The United States has already made "tremendous progress" in expanding weapons sales to India since 2008, and US companies could see "billions of dollars" in additional sales in coming years, a senior US State Department official said.

 

Andrew Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said US sales of military equipment to India had grown from zero in 2008 to around $8 billion.

 

"While that fighter competition loss was disappointing, we have made tremendous progress in the defence trade relationship," he told. "There's going to be billions of dollars more in the next couple of years."

 

He said a major arms trade initiative headed by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was making good progress and should lead to "an ever greater pace of additional defense trade." He gave no details on future possible arms sales.

 

US weapons makers including Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Raytheon Co and others, are keen to sale their wares to India, the world's largest arms importer, especially since US military spending is now declining after a decade of sharp growth fuelled by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. India plans to spend about $100 billion over the next decade upgrading its mostly Soviet-era military hardware.

 

Shapiro said the State Department was seeing continued demand for US weaponry from the Middle East and Asia, but US companies faced stiff competition from European weapons makers, who are also facing declining demand in their home markets.

 

He noted that Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia had been key partners in defence trade in recent years. South Korea is also expected to announce the winner of its 60-fighter competition soon.

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