The U.S. government is preparing a military support package for India to strengthen security ties and reduce Delhi’s dependence on arms from Russia, Bloomberg said on Tuesday, using anonymous sources.
The package would include Foreign Military Assistance (FMF) of $ 500 million, making India the largest recipient of such aid after Israel and Egypt.
A senior U.S. official said that the effort is part of a larger initiative by the Joe Biden administration to engage India as a long-term global security partner. In addition, Washington seeks to reduce New Delhi’s dependence on Russian arms supplies.
The interlocutor acknowledged that providing India with American weapons such as fighter jets, ships, and tanks remains problematic. However, he added that Washington hopes for a breakthrough in one of these areas.
It is still unclear when the deal will be announced and what weapons will be included in it.
Will India move away from Russia?
Washington wants to be seen as India’s trustworthy partner, and the U.S. administration is working with other countries to provide Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government with the military equipment it needs. While India is already diversifying its equipment supplies away from Russia, the U.S. wants this process to be faster, an anonymous source said.
As Bloomberg comments, India’s dependence on Russia for weapons is one of the main reasons Modi’s government has avoided criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin over its invasion of Ukraine. While the U.S., Europe, Australia and Japan imposed economic sanctions on Russia in response to this aggression, India continued importing Russian oil.
In April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russia could provide India with whatever defense it wanted.
In the same month, United States Secretary of State, the head of the U.S. State Department, Antony Blinken, said that Washington had urged other countries not to buy weapons from Russia. He explained the U.S. call by the country’s disagreement with the Russian special operation in Ukraine. At the same time, Blinken said that the United States has not yet decided on possible sanctions against India for the purchase of Russian S-400s.
Negotiations on hold
The website also emphasizes that India buys the most Russian weapons globally. According to SIPRI’s Stockholm International Institute for Peace Research, India has purchased more than $ 25 billion in military equipment from Russia over the past decade. By comparison, India spent over $ 4 billion on U.S. equipment over the same period.
India has suspended negotiations with Russia on purchasing ten Ka-31 early warning helicopters worth $ 520 million, as reported on Tuesday by DefenseNews. The government in Delhi has not yet officially confirmed these reports.