The US administration is reportedly in the process of sending $500 million worth of military packages to India in order to minimize its reliance on Russian weapons package & systems, according to several western-backed media agencies. Unlike Russia, which has contributed key technologies to our nuclear submarine program and collaborated on the development of frontline warships and weapons systems such as the Brahmos, the US administration appears to be stuck in the cold war era, when they could offer India outdated arms with a lot of strings attached.
While the US administration wants India to help curb China’s military, it has often fallen short of providing it with cutting-edge next-generation weapons systems. The long-awaited joint development of weapons systems between the two countries has yet to take off, and the options being considered are neither ground-breaking nor strategic.
While the Pentagon is willing to work with India to replace some of Russia’s arsenals with American-made aircraft, the US government is still offering India fighter jets that were developed in the late 1970s and 1980s and cannot be considered next-generation technology, even if they have been upgraded over time. The INS Jalashwa, previously the USS Trenton, was bought in 2007 with so many restrictions that it effectively became a Navy transport ship that is frequently used to convey food and other goods in India’s local vicinity.
The available American military systems are all outdated or of low strategic relevance. Aircraft such as the C-130 and C-17 transporters are a welcome addition to India’s military’s global reach, but they play a limited role on the battlefield. Only 28 Apache helicopters are complete weapons systems capable of participating in fights. The latest submarine deal with Australia just proves that India is still not considered as a close ally in Washington, and the weapons on offer come with so many conditions that New Delhi is hesitant to accept them.
This impasse between the two countries can only be broken if America is willing to transfer technology to India in exchange for the weapons it offers. Many American defence contractors and companies are eager to produce ” Screwdrivergiri ” in India, according to Indian defence analysts, because they refuse to offer complete ToT and are only interested in sub-assemblies of these systems while maintaining complete control of the supply chain and technology.
India has watched how American private corporations have gone out of Russia due to the Ukraine conflict and is concerned that if it takes a different path, it may be stuck with an obsolete American armament. The only way forward for both countries is through ToT and joint development of high-value strategic weapons.