On Tuesday, the United States has approved the sale of 24 MH-60R Helicopters for $2.6 Billion to India, significantly enhanced its emerging ally’s firepower to target submarines as China expand in the Indian Ocean.
In a quick response to a request submitted by India in 2018, the State Department informs that it was informing the United States Congress as legally need that it offered the green light for India to purchase 24 helicopters amounted $2.6 billion.
Nicknamed the Romeo, the MH-60R helicopters was manufactured by Lockheed Martin and are designed for hunting submarines, knocking out ships, and also conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea.
In a statement, the US State Department said that “this proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to strengthen the US-Indian strategic relationship and to improve the security of a major defensive partner.”
It further termed India as “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.”
India had an estranged relationship with the United States since the Cold War, appeared to be one of its leading defence partner with the keen of world’s two largest democracies largely overlapping amid concerned over a rising Islamist and China extremism.
The United States has been alarmed by the growing interest of China in the Indian Ocean as it becomes a global naval power.
In a strategy dubbed by US and Indian observers as the “string of pearls”, China has made use of a rising number of naval bases in the Indian Ocean, mainly in Gwadar port, it has been developing with Pakistan.
Naval planners of India has also replied with a doctrine to ensure freedom of movement throughout the Indian Ocean, extended from the Strait of Hormuz to the Strait of Malacca.
The MH-60R helicopters would also recharge India’s aging fleet of UK-made Sea King helicopters.