The United States announced it will sell six P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and related gear to India worth $2.42 billion that an American newspaper said Saturday was part of Washington’s move to push New Delhi into “greater regional efforts” to counter China.
The jet sale was announced by the State Department and the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the sale on Friday.
In a dispatch about the Biden administration’s decision to equip India with the sophisticated military aircraft, The Washington Times pointed out that India had joined the “Quad” of regional powers, including the United States, Japan and Australia that is “emerging as a quasi-anti-Beijing alliance.”
The P-8 is a militarized Boeing-737 considered an advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface ship weapon. Its armament includes torpedoes and Harpoon anti-ship missiles, the newspaper said. The jets also can operate as maritime surveillance aircraft and provide targeting and tracking information.
The sale is the third purchase of P-8s by New Delhi. The Indians paid $2.1 billion in 2009 for eight P-8s and purchased four additional jets in 2016.
US to sell six more P-8 maritime patrol aircraft to India. Armed with Harpoon missiles and torpedoes. Part of US-led effort to counter PRC military expansion https://t.co/gvAz6qiU5L
— Bill Gertz (@BillGertz) May 1, 2021
In 2013, India purchased AGM-84L Harpoon missiles and Mk 54 torpedoes for its P-8s.
The patrol aircraft sale also included tactical radio systems, missile warning sensors, GPS inertial navigation and engine spares, and aircraft counter-missile systems.
“This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the U.S.-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner, which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region,” the State Department said in announcing the sale.
On the other hand, India is also engaged with Russia in defense deals. The country needs to clarify its relationship with US and Russia.