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India approves new defence policy to boost local companies
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) May 24, 2017

Saudi Arabia gets State Department approval for FMS deal
Washington (UPI) May 24, 2017 - A U.S. Navy blanket order training program may be sold to Saudi Arabia under the Foreign Military Sales program.

The possible sale, valued at an estimated $250 million, was reported to Congress earlier this week by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which manages the FMS program.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has requested the continuation of a naval blanket order training program inside and outside of Saudi Arabia that includes, but is not limited to, English Language training, professional military education, technical training ... engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical and program support," DSCA said in a press release.

"The proposed sale will enable Saudi Arabia and the Royal Saudi Naval Force to maintain military performance levels and provide an increased ability to meet current and future maritime threats."

The U.S. State Department, it said, has approved the proposed sale, in which Kratos Defense & Security Solutions would be the prime contractor.

The assignment of about 88 contractor representatives to Saudi Arabia for three years to support personnel training would be part of the deal.

India's cabinet on Wednesday approved a long-awaited policy to boost local manufacturing of high-tech defence equipment and cut down reliance on expensive imports.

Under the new Strategic Partnership model, the government will pick Indian companies to tie up with foreign organisations to manufacture fighter jets, armoured vehicles, helicopters and submarines locally.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government has raised the limit on foreign investment in the defence sector and encouraged tie-ups between foreign and local companies under the "Make in India" manufacturing campaign.

"The new policy will give a substantial boost to domestic manufacturing and service provision, thereby creating employment," a government statement said.

"Preference in government procurement will be given to local suppliers," the statement added.

India has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing tensions with regional rivals China and Pakistan.

But Modi has said he wants to end India's status as the world's number one defence importer and to have 70 percent of hardware manufactured domestically by the turn of the decade.

Last year, British defence giant BAE Systems said it had chosen India's Mahindra group to build a plant for assembling howitzer artillery guns in the country.

The cabinet also Wednesday scrapped the Foreign Investment Promotion Board, a government panel perceived as being bogged down by stifling bureaucracy.

Foreign investments requiring government approval would in future be cleared by individual ministries, the government said.

"Foreign investors will find India more attractive destination and this will result in more inflow of FDI (foreign direct investment)," it said in a statement.




US, Saudi agree arms deals worth almost $110 billion: White House
Riyadh (AFP) May 20, 2017
Washington has agreed arms deals with Saudi Arabia worth almost $110 billion, a White House official said Saturday, the first day of President Donald Trump's visit to the traditional US ally. "This package of defence equipment and services support the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region in the face of Iranian threats," the official said. It will also bolster the kingdo ... read more

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