Mumbai: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday said that she expected to finalise a defence agreement essential to allowing US companies to sell sophisticated arms to India.
“We are working very hard to finalise a number of agreements. I am optimistic that we will get such agreements resolved and announced,” Clinton told reporters in Mumbai in response to a question about an arms ‘end-user monitoring’ pact.
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.
That deal is worth an estimated $10.4 billion, part of India’s $30 billion plan to modernise its military over the next five years.
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.
Clinton is also expected to work on finalising agreements around a civilian nuclear pact signed last year, and US officials hope she will announce two sites where US firms would have the exclusive right to build nuclear power plants.
The State Department has estimated that 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