US offers to lease choppers to India for coastal security

June 5th, 2009 - 2:56 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) The US has offered to provide helicopters on lease to India to improve patrolling along its 7,516 km-long coast, a defence ministry official here said Friday.
Following the audacious attack on Mumbai last year by terrorists who used the sea route to get into the city, India is considering the option of taking the helicopters on lease for patrolling its vast coastline.

“The US has offered to lease out some helicopters for coastal security. We are considering the option to see if we will be able to meet the gaps in the coastal security,” the official told IANS.

India will need at least 12 helicopters to ramp up its coastal security.

After the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai in which over 170 people were killed, purchase of various defence items were put on the fast track. The clearance has been given for the purchase of 12 Dornier aircraft for the Indian Coast Guard.

“We have asked HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) to deliver five aircraft by the year-end,” said the official.

He added that 12 requests for proposals for the purchase of defence products are pending and out of them five are ready.

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