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Delay in military deals irks US

The US wants India to clear the decks for the sale of 10 C-130J Hercules transport aircraft, HT reports.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 20:51 IST

The US would like the Indian bureaucracy to speed up its decision making and clear the decks for the sale of 10 C-130J Hercules transport aircraft for special forces and six Sikorsky Sea King UH-3H helicopters to operate from USS Trenton, being transferred to India next January.

Lieutenant General Jeffrey Kohler, director, US Defence Security Cooperation agency, said that if the Indian establishment failed to respond in the next few days then the deals could get delayed.

"The Congress has to be notified in case the size of a deal is more than $14 million. Further delay would mean that we will not be able to do that till next January. We expect the refurbished helicopters will sail to India with the Trenton," he said.

Kohler said, “Decision making is a slow process in both India and the US. The trouble is putting two slow systems together. But we are nibbling away at some of those challenges by working together."

On November 12-13, General Kohler co-chaired the 3rd US-India Defence Procurement and Production Group (DPPG) meeting with S Banerjee, Director General (Acquisition), Ministry of Defence. "The status of the USS Trenton was reviewed at the meeting and the two sides also discussed the recent acquisition of three TPQ-37 Firefinder radars by the Indian Army, "Kohler said.

The General was briefing reporters ahead of the two-day defence policy group (DPG) meeting, which begins on Thursday and will be co-chaired by defence secretary Shekhar Dutt and US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edleman. Elaborating on the DPG agenda, Kohler said the focus would be on a rich gamut of issues including strategic scenario in the region, missile defence and enhancing military-to-military contacts. He said, “We would like to broaden the scope of military exercises and build on the successes of previous military contacts.”

Kohler said US companies had received Indian requests for proposals for anti-tank missiles and anti-ship missiles for the air force. The US has delivered 10 of the 12 AN-TPQ37 weapon locating radars ordered by India under a 190 million dollar contract. The remaining radars would be delivered by February next.

First Published: Nov 15, 2006 20:51 IST