A $500 million military aid package would reportedly be aimed at ‘weaning’ India off of Russia
The Biden administration intends to woo India into slowing down its defense cooperation with Russia by offering New Delhi a military assistance package that could be worth as much as $500 million, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous sources.
Russia is a long-standing supplier of arms to India. This includes the complex weapon systems such as fighter jets or attack submarines. It has been India’s top weapon seller since at least 2000, except for last year when France was the leader. The UK, Israel and USA are all major sources of weapons.
India has a policy of decreasing its dependence on foreign supplies by developing the domestic defense sector and has also diversified arms imports in the past years, but Moscow remains its key partner, meeting almost half of India’s needs in the last five years.
Bloomberg claims that Washington wants India to move away from Russia in exchange for assistance.
The repomassnews.comes ahead of next week’s summit of leaders of the Quad – a four-party Indo-Pacific security mechanism – which also includes the US, Japan, and Australia. Washington sees it as crucial for opposing China. India is another Asian powerhouse.
India, along with many non-Western states, declined to support the US’s campaign against Russia over its attack on Ukraine. Instead of sacrificing its economic interest by placing sanctions on Moscow, like many European countries did it, New Delhi is now buying more Russian crude oil at a substantially reduced price.
While Western nations expressed their dismay over the absence of support for Russia’s foreign policies, it was not enough to target India in retaliation. Similar was the case before conflict in Ukraine.
Washington didn’t impose any sanctions on India in response to its purchase of advanced Russian S-400 anti-aircraft defense systems. Contrast this with the treatment Washington gave to China and NATO allies Turkey for purchasing similar weapons.
Sources at Bloomberg would not confirm when or if India’s aid agreement would be made public. They also wouldn’t say what arms India would get from the US. It was suggested that the package might include French weapons as well as American products. India, after Israel and Egypt, would be the largest recipient of US military assistance if the amount suggested by sources is true.
The news outlet asked Indian and American officials for comment, but they declined.
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