The year 2020 was an eventful and important year for the Indian Armed Forces as the country signed several significant defence deals with the United States of America (USA) and Russia to boost its defence sector. Apart from signing major defence deals, the government also introduced an import embargo on 101 items beyond given timeline to “boost indigenisation of defence production”. The Centre has repeatedly stressed that it aims to increase the defence manufacturing in India to boost this crucial sector. With 2020 coming to an end, here are some major defence deals inked by India this year:
MH-60 Romeo And Apache Helicopters:
US President Donald Trump visited India this year in February for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event. During his visit, India and the US signed a whooping USD 3 billion deal to purchase 24 MH-60R Romeo helicopters and six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters for the Armed Forces.
While the Apache helicopters were purchased for the Army, the Romeo helicopters were bought for the Navy. The Romeos will replace the British-made Sea King choppers in India’s fleet while the Apaches will replace the old Russian Mi-35s. The deal is expected to boost the Armed Forces and make them ready for future conflicts.
India, Israel sign Rs 880 crore deal
This year, the Centre also signed a major Rs 800 crore defence deal with Israel. The deal signed between the countries was to purchase light machine guns (LMGs) and automatic weapons for soldiers of the Indian Army deployed at the Line of Control (LoC).
Under this deal, India will purchase Negev NG-7 7.62×51mm LMGs. The Negev NG-7 7.62×51mm LMGs, which weights 7.95 kg, can fire 600 rounds in the semi-automatic mode and 750 in the fully automatic mode and has a barrel length of 508 mm.
India, US sign armed drones deal
Ending the long wait, India signed a major deal with the US this year to acquire 30 armed drones. The armed drones will be equally distributed between the three services. Under this USD 3 billion deal, India will get 30 predator Guardian drones that are manufactured by General Atomics.
The drones are expected to help the Armed Forces expand their surveillance and reconnaissance missions along the borders as they can stay in the air for nearly 27 hours and can carry deadly weapons.
India-Russia defence deal
Amid escalating tensions with China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh went Moscow this year and signed a major defence deal with the Russian government to procure arms, ammunition, tanks and submarines. During his visit, the defence minister also signed a contract to extend the building license of T90 tanks until 2028. The T90 main battle tank is Indian Army primary tank and it currently operates around 1,025 of them.
Apart from the T90s, India also signed a USD 16 billion deal with Russia to procure assault rifles and Kamov helicopters. To boost air defence, India signed an air-to-air missile deal with Russia worth Rs 1,500 crore to procure R-27 air-to-air missiles for Air Force’s Su-30 MKI fighter jets.
Air Force One deal with the US
During Donald Trump’s visit to India in February this year, India also signed a USD 190 million deal with the US for two self-protection suites (SPS). The jet, which arrived in India this year, has been named as Air India One and will be used by President, Vice President and the Prime Minister. It is equipped with an advanced and secured communication system and includes a big suit and medical centre.