India has just made a deal for the 155 mm field guns from the USA for the Indian army.
This acquisition marks a change from the earlier practice of going only for Russian weaponry.
It also underlines the strategic relationship between the USA and India. This news of the purchase of the howitzers has been reported by the Times of India
Purchasing guns from USA
The 155 mm howitzers are lethal weapons and the first battle guns incorporated into the Indian army in 30 years.
In 1986 Rajiv Gandhi had signed a deal for the Bofors guns. The deal was however mired in kickbacks paid by the Bofors company to middlemen including politicians. It was rumored the Rajiv himself was one of the recipients of the kickbacks. However, this charge was never proved.
The government, however, was so shaken up that no guns were inducted into the army for 3 decades. This had affected the army’s operational capability.
The need for an artillery long range gun was felt with a menacing China and a belligerent Pakistan, and given the new relationship with the USA, the army has selected the US-made M-777 gun.
It is a 155mm caliber gun with a range of almost 40 miles. The guns are radar controlled and the deal is worth over 700 million dollars. The induction of the guns will start from mid-2017 and will bolster the Indian army. In all 145 guns will be inducted in the first phase.
Earlier the Indian Air force had purchased the Globemaster transport aircraft from the USA as well. The Russian 155 mm heavy guns and an advanced version of the Bofors gun were also considered.
The inking of the deal for these long range guns is a further step in the military cooperation between India and the USA.
Now with Donald Trump taking over as president of the USA we do not know what he will do with the earlier relationship with India. Will he foster closer ties? So far no one knows his mind as he has been making some incoherent statements. Perhaps once he sits in the chair he will realize that reality and statements are two different things.