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India to acquire ten more US P-8I aircraft for ISR and ASW operations

India is likely to acquire 10 more Boeing P-8I Poseidon aircraft for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) operations and for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). Those aircraft would come in addition to the eight aircraft it has already acquired in 2009 for the Navy.

India to acquire ten more US P 8I aircraft for ISR and ASW operations Indian P-8I anti-submarine warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft (Picture Source: Boeing)

The search for the additional ten P8Is cleared its first hurdle today, on June 20, when the Services Capital Acquisition Categorisation Higher Committee (SCAPCHC), headed by the Chief of Integrated Staff or CISC, a senior lieutenant-general and including the three vice chiefs of staff of the three services cleared the proposal of about Rs 22,500 crore ($US 3.2 million).

This is only the first step. The deal will have to be cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh and including the three chiefs and the defence secretary and then, by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and including the finance, defence, home and external affairs ministers.

The purchase will be through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route, meaning it is a government-to-government deal. It is also a follow-on order. This avoids the lengthy process of bidding and usually, charges of corruption and favouritism. Many large orders have taken the FMS route including very recently, the 145 M-777 light howitzers for the Indian Army and also, the C-130 and C-17 aircraft and the Apache and Chinook helicopters.

The Pompeo visit later this month comes at a time when Indo-US defence ties are at a high, primarily after the signing of the COMCASA (Communications, Compatibility and Security Agreement) and a similar logistics agreement earlier.