The US has agreed to co-produce the Stryker armored fighting vehicle with India in an effort to enhance New Delhi’s deterrence against China.
New Delhi recently submitted a letter of intent for the deal to Washington, Nikkei reported, citing a US defense official.
Details will be worked out going forward, the outlet added.
Thousands of Vehicles Sought
Most of the India-manufactured vehicles will be deployed along India’s border with China, which witnessed clashes between the two militaries in 2020, Bloomberg reported.
Some of the vehicles will also be deployed along India’s western border with Pakistan, the outlet added.
New Delhi seeks thousands of Strykers, most of them armed with anti-tank weapons. The rest would be tasked with reconnaissance and command roles.
The General Dynamics vehicle comes in over two dozen variants, including infantry carrier and medical and engineering support.
A 30mm cannon has recently been added to the wheeled vehicle for increased lethality, while a directed energy weapon is being integrated for short-range air defense.
Indo-US Defense Cooperation
The recent agreement stems from a defense industry cooperation roadmap adopted in June.
“Just a few short months later, we are already delivering new projects designed to strengthen India’s military capabilities,” Nikkei quoted US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as saying.
“We agreed to move forward with the co-production of armored infantry vehicles.”
Mutual Security Concerns
The agreement is the latest example of increasing defense cooperation between the two countries that share mutual security concerns regarding China.
The two Quad partners struck a deal in June to produce General Electric fighter jet engines for the Indian Air Force in India.
“Now, it’s no secret that we all face a challenging global security environment,” Nikkei quoted Austin as saying after an annual meeting with the Indian defense and foreign ministers in New Delhi.
“That’s all the more reason why the progress in our partnership with India is so important and why the United States is so committed to making it even stronger.”