Japan is close to signing an agreement to supply amphibious planes to India, a report said Monday, in what would be the first sale of hardware used by the military since a weapons export ban was imposed.
During a four-day visit to Tokyo by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, starting Monday, the two sides are setting up firm plans for Delhi to purchase the US-2, a domestically-developed aircraft used by Japan’s armed forces.
The sale, reported by the Nikkei business daily, would be the first of a finished product made by Japan’s homegrown defence industry since rules were imposed restricting the export of weapons systems and other equipment.
It would also mark a strengthening of the alliance between Japan and India, which both see rising China as a threat to regional stability.
Experts say the aircraft must be classed as for civilian use if it is to comply with Japan’s 1967 self-imposed ban on arms exports, part of the post-World War II anti-militarist drive.
The US-2, which was developed by ShinMaywa Industries and has been sold to the Japanese navy at a price of roughly $99 million, has a range of 4,700 kilometres and can land in seas with waves of up to three metres.