Indian and U.S. officials will discuss the possible sale to New Delhi of U.S. weaponry — including Aegis missile systems, an amphibious platform dock ship, anti-submarine patrol aircraft and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC)-3 air defense systems — when Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Kohler, the Pentagon’s Defense Cooperation Security Agency chief, visits here next month.
Indian Defence Ministry sources said arming Indian destroyers with anti-submarine patrol aircraft and Aegis missile systems would help the ships detect Chinese submarines operating in the Indian Ocean region. India also considers purchase of an anti-ballistic air defense system like the PAC-3 or the Israeli-U.S. Arrow-2 a priority, and money is not an issue, a Defence Ministry official said.
The meeting between Kohler and senior Indian Defence Ministry officials will be the first since the two countries agreed to begin cooperating on civilian nuclear efforts here during Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to United States in July.
Kohler will give officials here a classified technical briefing on the PAC-3, F-16 and F-18 multirole, multirange combat aircraft.
Officials also will discuss India’s possible purchase of the USS Trenton, a decommissioned Austin-class amphibious transport dock, used to transport large numbers of troops over long distances.
An Indian Navy official, however, said the Trenton is not in good condition.
The Indian Navy also wants to buy U.S. Aegis combat systems for its ships. The Navy official said the system can monitor large areas of the Indian Ocean, keeping an eye on Chinese ships and submarines there. The Aegis system can defend Indian sea-based assets from short- and long-range missiles, added the Navy official, who strongly advocated the purchase of this system.
Defence Ministry officials said Aug. 23 that the government likely will buy the Aegis system even though similar systems are available from other sources in the world at a cheaper price.