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India to buy Chinook, Apache helicopters from the US for defence forces

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India has signed an agreement with the US Government and aircraft maker Boeing to purchase Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy lift helicopters, the government said.

India is not a traditional buyer of US-made defence equipment, preferring to engage with Russia and the Europeans instead.

However, with the new government under Narendra Modi, India is seen to be engaging more closely with the US, partly because of the rising power of China.

Recently, China had inked an agreement with Russia to purchase 24 Sukhoi Su-35 fifth-generation multirole fighter jets. India does not have even a single fifth-generation fighter jet.

India typically uses Russian- and European-made fighter jets and helicopters made by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd or HAL. The HAL Light Combat Helicopter is also exported to many countries, especially in Africa.

It is reported that India has only around three dozen attack helicopters at present.

India had also entered into a deal with a European firm AugustaWestland to purchase 12 lift aircraft for its military, but cancelled the deal after bribery allegations gained ground.

The Apache helicopter is arguably the most advanced such machine in its class.

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