NEW DELHI, India, Jan. 8, Reuter: Britain had no qualms about India’s acquisition this week of a nuclear powered submarine from the Soviet Union, British defense Secretary George Younger said on Friday.

Younger, in India to pave the way for British arms sales, said Britain and India expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on the transfer of defense technology next month.

He told a news briefing Britain’s previous reluctance to give some of its military secrets to the Soviet Union’s best friend in South Asia had been overcome.

Tank turrets to update India’s Vijayanta main battle tank, the Hawk Jet trainer and radar equipment were among the possible sales that would result from the memorandum, Younger said.

He said talks with Indian defense Minister K.C. Pant had covered a wide range of topics, among. Them India’s lease this week of the first of several Soviet built, nuclear powered submarines.

Younger said the acquisition would not alter the balance of power in the Indian Ocean or elsewhere,

“We regard it as absolutely a legitimate decision to be taken by the Indians to defend themselves in whatever way they choose”, he said. “We are absolutely relaxed about it”.

Younger said prospects were good for selling the British Aerospace Hawk to India to replace its aged Hunter and Mig21 trainers.

He said there could be “joint manufacture, assembly, servicing and backup” if India chose the Hawk over its rival, the Franco German alpha jet.

Up to 90 per cent of the plane, measured by cost, could be made by India, he said. He decided to put a figure on this but Indian media have quoted a price for the whole contract of around 1.5 billion dollars.

Article extracted from this publication >> January 15, 1988