Washington: US secretary of state Hillary Clinton hopes to unveil agreements that would help US firms sell sophisticated arms and nuclear power plants to India when she visits next week, a US official said on Wednesday.
One would be an “end-use monitoring” agreement under which the United States would have the right to make sure US arms sold to India are used for their intended purpose and that the technology does not leak to third countries.
Under US law, such a pact is necessary for US firms to bid on India’s plan to buy 126 multi-role fighters, which would be one of the largest arms deals in the world and could be a boon to Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co.
“We hope to be able to sign that,” assistant secretary of state Robert Blake told reporters as he previewed Clinton’s trip to India. She arrives in Mumbai on Friday for a two-night visit and then goes to New Delhi for Monday talks.
If the end-use monitoring agreement is signed, Blake suggested it would be on Monday in New Delhi.
Lockheed and Boeing are competing with Russia’s MiG-35, France’s Dassault Rafale, Sweden’s Saab KAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, made by a consortium of British, German, Italian and Spanish firms, for the contract.
Making her first visit to India as secretary of state, Clinton will strive to deepen ties that were strengthened by the US Congress giving final approval last year to a pact that opens the Indian market to US nuclear power companies.
US officials hope India will use her trip to announce two sites where US firms would have the exclusive right to build nuclear power plants, a business opportunity that Blake estimated could be worth up to $10 billion for US companies.
The two major US nuclear reactor builders are General Electric Co and Westinghouse Electric Co, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp.