India-US Howitzer Deal Stuck Again, Needs to Clear Another Hurdle
India plans to deploy the M777A2 howitzers along the India-China border.
New Delhi (Sputnik) – The purchase of BAE's M777A2 lightweight howitzers for the Indian Army needs to clear another hurdle with certain new purchase condition.
Sources from India's Defense Ministry told Sputnik that the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), the apex body that takes the final call on purchase of defense equipment has approved the deviations in the earlier approved purchase plan and now it will be referred to the Cabinet Committee on Security for financial clearance.
Sputnik had reported on August 25 of this year that India seeks a second extension of the deadline for the deal that was to be signed before September 5 if India was to purchase the guns at the original price quoted by BAE. According to sources, BAE has demanded a 10 percent increase in price if India chooses to sign the deal after the September 5 deadline. The original deadline for signing the deal was August 5 which the US had extended by one month following a request made by India.
Informing the Parliament in July this year, about the status of the deal, Manohar Parrikar, India's Minister of Defense said, "Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) has been accorded for the procurement of 155mm / 39 Calibre Ultra-Light Howitzers from USA under US Foreign Military Sales route at an approximate cost of USD 737 million."
The deal had not progressed since 2012 due to cost issues and because the BAE had not been able to come up with a proposal fully complaint to the offset requirements.
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