India is swiftly moving ahead to acquire the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II) from the US, which will be used along with indigenous, Russian and Israeli systems to erect an ambitious multi-layered missile shield over the National Capital Territory of Delhi against aerial threats ranging from drones to ballistic missiles.
Defence ministry sources said the US is likely to send the final draft of the ‘letter of acceptance’ for the sale of NASAMS-II to India under its foreign military sales programme, at a cost of over Rs 6,000 crore (almost $1 billion), by July-August.
“Several rounds of negotiations, including selection of sites for deployment of the missile batteries around Delhi, have already taken place. Once the deal is inked, the deliveries will take place in two to four years,” said a source. The MoD had earlier granted ‘acceptance of necessity’ to the NASAMS acquisition, which was followed by India issuing a formal ‘letter of request’ (LoR) to the US, as reported by TOI in July last year.
Though the US is mounting pressure on India to also consider its Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) and Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile defence systems, MoD sources said “there is no plan to scrap” the $5.43 billion (almost Rs 40,000 crore) deal inked with Russia for five squadrons of the advanced S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems.