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Multinationals throng India to sell military hardware

NEW DELHI, Jan 29 (APP): Multinationals have thronged Indian Capital in a bid to seek contracts of billions of dollars India is intending to spend to purchase fighters, helicopters, heavy guns and military transport planes.

The manufacturers of multi-role combat aircraft in the US, Russia, France and other countries are eying on a contract to sell 126 such fighters for which India is going to float tenders soon.

The Indian Defence Minister A K Antony said on Tuesday India was also in a process of floating international tenders to purchasing 317 helicopters for Army and Air Force, whose cost could run up to 2.5 billion dollars.

“A major combined tender would soon be floated for purchase of helicopters for Army and Air Force to replace their ageing fleet of Cheetaks and Cheetahs,” Defence Minister was quoted by media as saying while talking to newsmen on the sidelines of a function here.

Previously, the tender floated to purchase 197 helicopters was cancelled.

Under the new combined tender, 197 helicopters would be acquired for the Army and 120 similar choppers for the Air Force, he said.

This tender for helicopters would be India’s second largest international military tender following an estimated $10 billion for buying 126 fighters.

The Minister said helicopters are urgently needed by Army and Air Force.

The purchase process would be carried forward on fast -track basis.

According to Indian media, multi-nationals and heads of government of industrialised states are struggling to seek defence contracts with India, particularly the $10 billion contract for the 126 multi-role combat aircraft.

“The Asian Age” reported that major defence multinationals are already lobbying with officials and the media for the defence contracts. Lockheed is going to sign the $1.059 billion contract for six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and accessories with Indian air force.

Officials from different countries and multinationals are now regular visitors to India to sell their products. Quoting Defence officers here, the daily said there are very few countries like India with its huge defence budget and ravenous need for defence hardware.