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US hopes to increase arms sales to India

In 2012 the US has already surpassed $50 billion in foreign military sales

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The hopes to increase arms sales to in the year 2013, building on the new bonhomie between the two countries after Defence Secretary's recent visit to New Delhi, a senior official has said.

"We are hopeful that arms sales to India will increase. We've made tremendous progress in the relationship over the last decade. We went from nearly zero sales to about $8 billion in sales," Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro, told reporters in a conference call yesterday.

"Going forward, there's a number of tenders which we hope we're successful on, including a tender for Apache helicopters.

"We continue to advocate for them, and we're hopeful that we'll be successful on a number of sales over the coming year with India," Shapiro said.

Shapiro said that in 2012 the US has already surpassed $50 billion in foreign military sales.

"This represents at least a $20 billion increase over Fiscal Year 2011 and we still have more than a quarter of the fiscal year left," he said.

Recent years, he said, have seen tremendous growth and sales with developing countries and emerging powers such as Brazil and India.

"This speaks volumes about our diplomatic efforts," he said.

"To put this in context, fiscal year 2011 was a record-setting year at just over  $30 billion. This fiscal year will be at least 70% greater than fiscal year 2011. These sales support tens of thousands of American jobs, which is welcome news for the economy," he said.

Shapiro said the US agreement in December to expand its security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is projected to have a significant impact on the US economy.

According to industry experts, this agreement will support more than 50,000 American jobs.

It will engage 600 suppliers in 44 states and provide $3.5 billion in annual economic impact to the US economy.

This will support jobs not only in the aerospace sector, but also on America's manufacturing base and support chain, which are all crucial for sustaining their national defence, he said.

The sale to Saudi Arabia was worth $29.4 billion.

Saudi Arabia signed a letter of offer and acceptance in December for the sale, which included 84 advanced F-15SA fighter aircraft.

It also includes upgrades to its current fleet of 70 F-15 aircraft, as well as munitions, spare parts, training, maintenance and logistics.

This number also includes the sale of the Joint Strike Fighter to Japan, which is valued at approximately $10 billion, he said.

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