US okays 24 Seahawk choppers sale to India | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:26 AM, April 04, 2019

US okays 24 Seahawk choppers sale to India

The US has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of $2.4 billion, the state department has said.

India has been in need of these formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopters for more than a decade now.

Designed for hunting submarines as well as knocking out ships and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea, the Lockheed Martin-built helicopters would replenish India's aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.

The Trump administration on Tuesday notified the Congress that it has approved sale of 24 MH-60R multi-mission helicopters, which will provide the Indian defence forces the capability to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions.

In its notification, the state department told the Congress that this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship.

The sale will improve the security of a major defensive partner which continues to be an important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region, it said.

India has been alarmed by China's growing interest in the Indian Ocean. In a strategy dubbed by Indian and US observers as the "string of pearls," China has made use of a growing number of naval bases in the Indian Ocean, most notably the Gwadar port it is developing in India's rival Pakistan.

Indian naval planners have responded with a doctrine to ensure freedom of movement throughout the Indian Ocean, stretching from the Strait of Hormuz to the Strait of Malacca.

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