By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Dec 8 (PTI) India's weapons procurement from the United States jumped from meagre USD 6.2 million to a whopping USD 3.4-billion in the final year of the Donald Trump administration, according to official data.
The jump in sale of American weapons to India comes at a time when sale of weapons from the US to other countries has dipped to USD 50.8 billion in 2020 from USD 55.7 billion 2019.
In 2019, the sale of US weapons to foreign countries was USD 55.7 billion, according to data from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA). In 2017, the sale of US weapons to other countries was USD 41.9 billion.
According to the statistics released by the DSCA, major buyers of American weapons in 2020 were India (USD 3.4 billion up from USD 6.2 million in fiscal year 2019), Morocco (USD 4.5 billion up from USD 12.4 million), Poland (USD 4.7 billion up from USD 673 million), Singapore (USD 1.3 billion up from USD 137 million), Taiwan (USD 11.8 billion up from USD 876 million), and the United Arab Emirates (USD 3.6 billion up from USD 1.1 billion).
Several countries reported drop in purchase of weapons from the US.
Prominent among them were Saudi Arabia which came down from USD 14.9 billion in 2019 to USD 1.2 billion in 2020, Afghanistan (USD 1.1 billion down from USD 1.6 billion), Belgium (USD 41.8 million down from USD 5.5 billion), Iraq (USD 368 million down from USD 1.4 billion), and South Korea (USD 2.1 billion down from USD 2.7 billion).
According to the 2020 edition of the Historical Sales Book, India purchased weapons worth USD 754.4 million in 2017 and USD 282 million in 2018. Between 1950 and 2020, US sale of weapons to India under Foreign Military Sales (FMS) category was USD 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 USD 146 million, in 2018 it was USD 65 million and in 2017 it was USD 22 million.
In 2019, there was no sale of US military weapons to Pakistan. In fact, the US refunded USD 10.8 million to Pakistan, taken for the purchase of weapons.
Between 1950 and 2020, Pakistan purchased weapons worth USD 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 USD 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 USD55.39 billion in Fiscal Year 2019 to USD50.78 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 USD 58.33 billion to USD 87.64 billion. This was driven by the July potential sale of USD 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 USD124.3 billion in fiscal year 2020, and this was up from USD114.7 billion in fiscal year 2019, he said.
“This represented an 8.4 per cent increase. This total value covers authorisations of hardware, defense services, and technical data. The total number of licences issued decreased by 20-per cent from 36,111 in Fiscal Year 2019 to 28,800 in Fiscal Year 2020,” Cooper said.
The top commercial DCS notified to Congress in Fiscal Year 2020 included an USD 8.39 billion sale to Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom for F-35 components.
This also included a USD 3.2 billion sale to Australia for P-8 aircraft parts, and a USD 2.48 billion sale to United Kingdom and Australia for E-7 airborne early warning and control aircraft, Cooper said. PTI LKJ IND