The Indian Navy proposal to acquire 12 ShinMaywa US-2i amphibious aircraft has finally moved to the defense ministry’s Defense Acquisitions Council (DAC).
This comes at a time when the Japanese Administrative Vice Minister for Defence (equivalent to defense secretary), Tetsuro Kuroe is on a two-day visit to India along with a ten-member team of the Japanese Acquisition Technology and Logistics Agency (ALTA).
The Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shinsuke Sugiyama, was in New Delhi last week for talks with Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar.
All of this is in the run-up to the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan, scheduled to take place over November 11 and 12, 2016.
While an earlier process under the Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorization Committee (SCAPCC) had determined last January the number of aircraft proposed to be acquired, the Services Capital Acquisition Plan Categorization Higher Committee (SCAPCHC) has determined the category under which this acquisition will take place: Buy (Global).
Although, the next meeting of the DAC is expected to take place on November 07, 2016, the US-2i purchase is not yet expected to figure on the agenda.
As with the acquisition of the 36 Rafale aircraft, Prime Minister Modi could make an announcement of the purchase as part of a joint statement with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and, theoretically, a subsequent DAC meeting could process the acquisition further to approve the Acceptance of Necessity of the category of acquisition and the number of aircraft.
In any case, the defense ministry is attempting to have a firm proposal in place for Prime Minster Modi’s visit to Japan and could also call an early DAC meeting for this purpose.
A Request For Proposal (RFP) will then be sent to the Government of Japan and further details will have to be discussed during negotiations between the ALTA and the Indian defense ministry, including possible lines of credit, guarantees and warranties, as well as actual cost of acquisition of the configuration of the aircraft required by the Indian Navy.