US approves sale of 24 MH 60 Romeo Seahawk helicopters to IndiaDate: 03 April 2019 Tags: Defence & Security
United States (US) has approved sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India at estimated cost of $2.4 billion. These are formidable anti-submarine hunter helicopters designed for hunting submarines as well as knocking out ships and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea. These helicopters will be deployed with Indian Navy and
MH-60 Romeo Seahawk helicopter
- It is considered to be the world’s most advanced maritime helicopter. It is built by Lockheed Martin. It is designed to hunt down submarines, as well as knock out ships and conduct search-and-rescue operations at sea.
- It is the most capable naval helicopter available at present designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers.
- It is considered as cornerstone of US Navy's Helicopter Concept of Operations. It is deployed by US Navy primarily for anti-submarine warfare anti-surface weapon system for open ocean and littoral zones.
Significance of this deal
- This proposed sale will support foreign policy and national security of US by helping to strengthen US-Indian strategic relationship. It will also not alter military balance in the region.
- It will help to replenish India Navy's aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters. It will provide the Indian Navy capability to perform anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions.
- Besides, it will also enhance performance of secondary missions including vertical replenishment, search and rescue, and communications relay, naval gunfire support and logistics support.
- Induction of these helicopters will add lethal capabilities of Indian Navy, which is the need of the hour given the aggressive behaviour of China in the Indian Ocean region.
- It will improve security of India which is major defensive partner of US and continues to be important force for political stability, peace, and economic progress in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia region.
- India, which had estranged relations with US during Cold War, now has emerged as one of its leading defense partner.
- This primarily due interests of world's two largest democracies largely overlapping amid their concerns over a rising China and Islamist extremism.
- India is concerned by China's growing interest in its backwaters especially in Indian Ocean as it becomes global naval power.
- In strategy dubbed by Indian and US observers as "string of pearls," China has made use of growing number of naval bases in Indian Ocean, most notably Gwadar port it is developing in Pakistan.
- India has responded to China’s strategy with doctrine to ensure freedom of movement throughout Indian Ocean, stretching from Strait of Malacca to Strait of Hormuz.