New Delhi: – The United States has decided to provide all assistance to India, ranging from the supply of spare parts to the maintenance of Harpoon missiles, which are crucial in anti-submarine warfare. The Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DCCA), the US defence headquarters, has told the US Congress that Harpoon Joint Common Test Sets (JCTS) will be sold to India. The Pentagon is confident that this will further strengthen its strategic partnership with India, a key US partner in the Indo-Pacific region.
Last year, the former Trump administration decided to supply AGM 84-L Harpoon Block-2 Air Launch missiles to India. These missiles have become part of the Indian Navy’s fleet, which are crucial in anti-submarine warfare. Even in the past, India acquired Harpoon missiles from the United States. The missiles are currently being mounted on P-8I aircraft in the Navy’s fleet. India also plans to equip four of its Shishumar class submarines with these missiles. There are indications that India may buy more harpoons from the US soon.
However, the Indian Defence Forces currently face difficulties maintaining the Harpoon missiles, concerning the spare parts and other technical matters. Therefore, India had demanded Harpoon Joint Common Test Sets (JCTS) from the US. Under this, the United States will assist India with maintaining Harpoon, Harpoon Intermediate Level Maintenance Station, various spare parts and its repair. Moreover, it will also help to preserve other assistance and testing equipment and training.
The entire deal for Harpoon JCTS is worth $8.82 million, or about ₹6 billion. Partnership with India is crucial for political stability, peace and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific region and South Asia. The cooperation will further strengthen strategic cooperation between India and the United States, the Pentagon’s Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said.
In 2016, India was awarded the status of ‘Major Defence Partner’ by the United States. This paved the way for the United States to supply sensitive and advanced technology to India. Since then, both countries have been working towards jointly developing and manufacturing defence equipment. The Pentagon says the US decision to sell Harpoon JCTS to India reflects the strong cooperation between the two countries. The Pentagon told the US Congress that the sale of JCTS would not upset the military balance in the region. The Pentagon also said that Boeing would offer an offset contract. Harpoon missiles are believed to be the most successful anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles in the world. The missiles are currently in the defence fleets of 30 countries, including India.