CCS to meet today, may discuss defence deals to be inked during President Trump trip

The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is scheduled to meet at 10.30 am today (February 19) and is likely to clear the defence deals that could be finalised during the bilateral meeting between the two nations, according to sources.

The committee is likely to give its consent to the purchase of MH-60 `Romeo’ multi-mission helicopters for the Indian Navy, and the sale of six AH-64E Apache attack helicopters could also get consent.

India and US are eyeing to finalise a raft of mega defence deals including procurement of a batch of military helicopters by Indian Navy from American defence major Lockheed Martin at a cost of $2.6 billion. Both sides have also been pushing for joint venture and collaboration between private sectors of the two countries in defence manufacturing.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has said he is “saving the big deal” with India for later and he “does not know” if it will be done before the presidential election in November, clearly indicating that a major bilateral trade deal during his visit to Delhi next week might not be on the cards.

“We can have a trade deal with India. But I’m really saving the big deal for later,” he told reporters at Joint Base Andrews Tuesday (local time).

According to news agency PTI, defence and security ties between India and the US have been on an upswing in the last six years. The bilateral defence trade touched the $18 billion mark in 2019, reflecting growing defence cooperation between the two sides.

Officials said that the two sides may finalise the deal during President Donald Trump’s visit to India.

President Trump will pay a state visit to India on February 24 and 25, he is accompanied by First Lady Melania Trump. This is the president’s first bilateral visit in the third decade of 21st century and also the first after his acquittal by the Senate in the impeachment trial.