It was also irked by Indian political comments on regaining Aksai Chin and Gilgit Baltistan, which remain its weakest links in the Himalayas. The creation of Ladakh into a UT directly under the Centre enables enhancement of military deployment in the region. No nation that invests 60 plus billion dollars in developing a trade route (CPEC) would seek to place its very source at risk of intervention by hostile forces.
In a significant development towards strengthening the defence capability, India will purchase Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles and lightweight torpedoes from the United States of America.
As reported by news agency PTI, the Trump Administration on Monday notified the Congress of its determination to sell these weapons worth USD 155 million to India.
In two separate notifications to the Congress, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said the sale of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles is estimated to cost USD 92 million, while 16 MK 54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes and three MK 54 Exercise Torpedoes are estimated to cost USD 63 million.
A determination in this regard was recently made by the US State Department following a request for these two military hardware made by the Indian Government, the Pentagon said.
According to the Pentagon, the Harpoon missile system will be integrated into the P-8I aircraft to conduct anti-surface warfare missions in defence of critical sea lanes while enhancing inter-operability with the United States and other allied forces.
“India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and strengthen its homeland defense. India will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces,” the Pentagon said.
While the Harpoon missiles will be manufactured by Boeing, the torpedoes would be supplied by Raytheon, the notification said.
The proposed sale, it said, will improve India’s capability to meet current and future threats from enemy weapon systems. The MK 54 Lightweight Torpedo will provide the capability to conduct anti-submarine warfare missions.
“India will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. India intends to utilize MK 54 Lightweight Torpedoes on its P-8I aircraft. India will have no difficulty absorbing these systems into its armed forces,” it said.
The proposed sale of these equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region, Pentagon said in both the notifications.
According to the Pentagon, this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-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.
(With inputs from PTI)