India may ink major defense deals with US next month

India is likely to ink a number of arms deals with the United States when U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visits this country early next month, local media reported.
Though New Delhi is going to sign more arms deals in a bid to bolster its military cooperation with Washington, it is still unwilling to ink the foundational military pacts being pushed by the United States for years, The Times of India reported.
During his visit in the first week of June, the U.S. Defense Secretary will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defense Minister A.K. Antony and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon among others, the report said.
"China, Pakistan and Afghanistan will also figure in the discussions," an unnamed official was quoted as saying.
Two major defense deals which are likely to take place during Panetta's visit include the acquisition of 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers from the United States in a direct government-to- government deal worth 647 million U.S. dollars under the Foreign Military Sales programme.
The other defense deal include the U.S. aircraft manufacturer Boeing possibly grabbing from India a 1.4 billion U.S. dollars contract to supply 22 missile-armed helicopter gunships for its Air Force, the newspaper said.

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