In the last three years, the U.S. has surpassed Russia as the number one military vendor to India, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told the Indian parliament on Tuesday.
Starting in 2011, India has imported $13.9 billion in military equipment from the U.S. and $5.34 billion from Russia, Jaitley told the Indian Lok Sabha.
Big ticket U.S. equipment imported to India includes the Boeing P-8I Neptune — a version of the U.S. Navy’s P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft — Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft and the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules medium cargo transport, according to local press reports.
India is also close to signing a $2.5 billion deal for 22 Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Boeing CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters, according to a Wednesday report in Jane’s Defence Weekly.
Despite the trend favoring the U.S., the Indian armed forces still field about 70 percent Russian equipment, ranging from submarines to tactical fighters.
India and Russia are partners on Brahmos PJ-10 anti-ship cruise missile and the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fighter. Russia is also working with India on a nuclear ballistic missile submarine — INS Arihant.
“India also wanted to diversify its arms suppliers as Moscow was proving to be an unreliable provider with extended delivery deadlines, exponential cost increases, and hurdles in transferring technology,” according to Jane’s.
India has also purchased $1.96 billion in material from France and $554.6 million from Israel, Jaitley said.
In response to India looking beyond Moscow for arms, Russia is considering an attack helicopter sale to India’s regional rival Pakistan.
Last week — in a visit to New Delhi — U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed future cooperative defense programs between the U.S. and India.