July 20, 2009 11:35:55 am
The United States and India are expected to sign an agreement on Monday that would take a major step towards allowing the sale of sophisticated US arms to New Delhi,three senior US officials said.
Known as an “end-use monitoring” agreement and required by US law for such weapons sales,the pact would let Washington check that India was using any arms for the purposes intended and preventing the technology from leaking to others.
The deal would be a tangible accomplishment of Hillary Clinton’s first trip to India as US secretary of state and it could prove a boon to US companies such as Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co.
Both US defence contractors are in the running to compete for India’s plan to buy 126 multi-role fighters,which would be one of the largest arms deals in the world as India takes steps to modernise its largely Russian-made arsenal.
The two US companies 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.
The US officials,who spoke on condition that they not be identified,said the defence agreement was not finalised as of late Sunday but that they expected it to go through in time for Clinton’s signature on Monday.
Clinton to meet Manmohan Singh
Visiting US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.
Later,Clinton will meet Leader of Opposition,L K Advani at the latter’s 30,Prithiviraj Road official residence. She will also meet Congress Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
In the evening,she will meet External Affairs Minister S M Krishna at Hyderabad House. This will be followed by a signing of agreements and a brief interaction with the media.
Clinton,who arrived in the capital on Sunday,addressed a meet on Climate Change held in Gurgaon,on the outskirts of New Delhi.
“The challenge is to create a global framework that recognises the different needs and the responsibilities of developed and developing countries alike. And I not only understand but I agree with the concerns of countries like India. United States and other countries that have been the biggest historic emitters of Green house gases should shoulder the biggest burden for cleaning up the environment and we do sink our carbon footprint, Clinton said.
Clinton will leave for Bangkok,Thailand on Tuesday.
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