India Signs Contract for U.S. Radars

On April 17, India signed an agreement worth approximately $146 million with the Pentagon to purchase eight advanced radars. The deal, which the United States authorized last year, marks the first major arms sale by the U.S. government to India in more than a decade.

Under the terms of the agreement, India will receive eight AN/TPQ-37 Firefinder radars, which are ground-based radars designed to detect and locate the precise site of an enemy’s artillery and rocket systems. Thales Raytheon Systems, a trans-Atlantic U.S., French, and British venture, builds the radar.

Private U.S. companies last delivered India military-related equipment and dual-use goods—items having both civilian and military applications that require a U.S. government license to export—in 1994. Those deliveries totaled a little more than $97 million.

Last September, the Bush administration lifted sanctions prohibiting arms sales to India, which is historically a major buyer of Russian weaponry. The U.S. action was announced in conjunction with the removal of similar sanctions on Pakistan. Washington had imposed sanctions on both India and Pakistan following their May 1998 nuclear tests.

Although the Bush administration had apparently favored lifting sanctions on India for some time, it did not want to waive sanctions on one of the South Asian rivals and not the other. Pakistan’s support for the U.S. war on terrorism, however, provided the administration with the opportunity to lift sanctions on New Delhi and Islamabad simultaneously.