India inked a $1 billion deal with the United States on Wednesday for the purchase of four more Poseidon P-8I maritime surveillance and warfare aircraft from Boeing.
The deal comes in the wake of increasing presence of Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) vessels in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
India already has eight P-8I Neptune Aircraft which are used by the Navy for surveillance over the Indian Ocean. According to the defence ministry, the order was a follow-up one which was signed today.
The four aircraft will enter service by 2019.
The P-8I is capable of conducting anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. It is equipped with torpedoes, depth charges, harpoon, and other anti-ship missiles.
The equipment fitted inside a P-8I. Boeing
But the P-8I is equally useful for surveillance and intelligence gathering through electronic sensors. China’s growing presence in the IOR has been a cause of concern for India. Chinese submarines previously docked in Sri Lanka. And when the Gwadar port in Pakistan is completed, China might use it for military purposes to threaten India’s western coastal areas through Arabian Sea.