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US arms sales to India zoomed to $3.4 billion in Trump govt's final year

Between 1950 and 2020, US sale of arms to India under FMS category was $12.8 billion

MH-60 Apache A collage, from left, showing the MH-60 R (US Navy via Wikimedia Commons) and the AH-64E Apache (Boeing); India is purchasing both types of helicopters from the US

India's weapons procurement from the US jumped from a meagre $6.2 million to a whopping $3.4 billion in the final year of the Donald Trump administration, according to official data.

As per the data released by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the jump in the sale of American weapons to India comes at a time when sale of weapons from the US to other countries has dipped to $50.8 billion in 2020 from $55.7 billion in 2019.

In 2019, the sale of US weapons to foreign countries was $55.7 billion. In 2017, it was $41.9 billion, it said.

Major buyers of American weapons in 2020 were India ($3.4 billion up from $6.2 million in fiscal year 2019), Morocco ($4.5 billion up from $12.4 million), Poland ($4.7 billion up from $673 million), Singapore ($1.3 billion up from $137 million), Taiwan ($11.8 billion up from $876 million) and the United Arab Emirates ($3.6 billion up from $1.1 billion), the data showed.

Several countries reported a drop in purchase of weapons from the US.

Prominent among them were Saudi Arabia, which came down from $14.9 billion in 2019 to $1.2 billion in 2020, Afghanistan ($1.1 billion down from $1.6 billion), Belgium ($41.8 million down from $5.5 billion), Iraq ($368 million down from $1.4 billion) and South Korea ($2.1 billion down from $2.7 billion).

According to the 2020 edition of the Historical Sales Book, India purchased weapons worth $754.4 million in 2017 and $282 million in 2018. Between 1950 and 2020, US sale of weapons to India under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) category was $12.8 billion.

For Pakistan, the official figures reflected that sale of weapons under FMS did happen, even though there was a freeze in any military and security assistance to Islamabad from the Trump administration.

In 2020, US sale of weapons to Pakistan was $146 million, in 2018 it was $65 million and in 2017 it was $22 million.

In 2019, there was no sale of US military weapons to Pakistan. In fact, the US refunded $10.8 million to Pakistan, taken for the purchase of weapons.

Between 1950 and 2020, Pakistan purchased weapons worth $10 billion from the US under FMS.

However, the total supply of American military weapons to Pakistan is much more, as a major chunk of weapons to Pakistan has gone from United States as military and security assistance.

According to the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Clarke Cooper, fiscal 2020 saw a total of $175.8 billion in US government-authorised arms exports. This is overall a 2.8 per cent increase since fiscal year 2019.

The overall value of State Department-authorised government-to-government FMS cases implemented by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency decreased 8.3 per cent from $55.39 billion in Fiscal Year 2019 to $50.78 billion in Fiscal Year 2020. "The dollar value of potential FMS sales, formally notified to Congress, also rose by more than 50 per cent from $58.33 billion to $87.64 billion. This was driven by the July potential sale of $23.11 billion worth of F-35 aircraft to Japan, which was the second-largest single FMS notification ever authorised by the Department of State,” Cooper said.

The Direct Commercial Sales (DCS), which is the Department of State-authorised commercial export licenses, totalled $124.3 billion in fiscal year 2020, and this was up from $114.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, he said.

The top commercial DCS notified to Congress in Fiscal Year 2020 included a $8.39 billion sale to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom for F-35 components.

This also included a $3.2 billion sale to Australia for P-8 aircraft parts, and a $2.48 billion sale to United Kingdom and Australia for E-7 airborne early warning and control aircraft, Cooper said.


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