India has agreed to a $560-million deal to buy 145 howitzer guns from BAE Systems of the United States as it upgrades its antiquated military hardware, an official said.
India is updating its military capabilities with hardware worth tens of billions of dollars in the face of long-standing tensions with regional rivals China and Pakistan.
The government will spend 30 billion rupees ($560 million) on the field guns, the official said.
The howitzers, with a maximum range of 30 kilometres (17 miles), will be used by the army’s mountain artillery divisions along India’s high-altitude frontiers.
India has fought three wars with arch-rival Pakistan since independence in 1947, but China is increasingly seen as the main focus of its ambitious military modernisation and procurement policy.
The military is acquiring a slew of new equipment from combat aircraft to submarines and in March, the country announced military spending for the current financial year would total 1.93 trillion rupees ($40 billion).
Saturday’s announced purchase marks the first time in more than a quarter of a century that India is buying howitzers.
Finalization of the howitzer deal could take up to at least a year, other defense officials said.
Why does it feel like we’re gearing up for WWIII with Asia?