News / Asia

    India Emerges as Largest Foreign Customer of US Arms

    Students gather by an inactive fighter aircraft on display at a Sainik School, or military school, in Goalpara, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Aug. 8, 2014.Students gather by an inactive fighter aircraft on display at a Sainik School, or military school, in Goalpara, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Aug. 8, 2014.
    x
    Students gather by an inactive fighter aircraft on display at a Sainik School, or military school, in Goalpara, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Aug. 8, 2014.
    Students gather by an inactive fighter aircraft on display at a Sainik School, or military school, in Goalpara, in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, Aug. 8, 2014.
    Anjana Pasricha

    India has emerged as the world’s largest arms buyer in recent years, but hopes to reverse this by strengthening its domestic defense industry. The United States was India’s largest arms supplier in recent years, dislodging Russia as New Delhi’s principal source of weapons.
     
    Defense Minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that India bought arms worth nearly $5.5 billion from the United States in the last three years, surpassing purchases from Russia worth about $4 billion during the same period.
     
    According to Rahul Bedi at IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly in New Delhi, more deals with Washington are in the pipeline.

    “There are two contracts for helicopters, attack helicopters and heavy lift helicopters, which the U.S. has secured over Russian platforms, they were pitted against Russian helicopters, and that is worth another $2.5 billion, so the American kitty seems to be growing," Bedi said.
     
    In recent years, India has been trying to diversify its arms purchases to move away from its huge dependency on weapons from Moscow, its Cold War ally.
     
    Shift toward production, technology

    New defense deals with the U.S. are expected to focus on projects that will transfer production and technology know-how to India, as New Delhi tries to boost local production of high technology weapons.
     
    The government last week raised foreign investment in the defense sector from 26 percent to 49 percent, hoping to woo foreign arms manufacturers. 

    India’s failure to build a domestic military industry has made it the world’s top buyer of weapons. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country must lower dependence on imports.
     
    On a recent visit to India to deepen military cooperation, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel indicated that the U.S. is willing to move from buying and selling arms to co-production and co-development.  
     
     “This has been an area of great contention between India and the U.S., " Bedi said, noting that freer exchange of technology will benefit India. "But the recent visit of U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel outlined about 10 technologies which they were willing to transfer to India and technologies that India is in need of. But nothing has been concluded and there is a lot of negotiation left, but it seems as if the U.S. is more amenable to transfer technology to India and that is good for India’s local industry."
     
    Among the weapons on offer for technology sharing is the anti-tank Javelin missile. The U.S. has called it an “unprecedented offer.”
     
    Defense analysts say the U.S has increased its presence in India’s defense market due to two reasons: despite some ups and downs, strategic relations between the two countries have improved, as India is seen as a counterbalance to China. Also, in the last two decades, analysts say, Russia became an unreliable supplier, often missing deadlines and raising costs.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.