NEW DELHI, Jan. 5, India, The Soviet Union has offered India Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS) to counter the proposed supply of U.S. made AWACS to Pakistan.

The United News of India (UNI) said the Indian Air Force was not in favor of the Soviet Il76 tactical transport aircraft fitted with AWACS because it was not as sophisticated as the U.S. version.

The I76, codenamed mainstay by NATO, lacked several functions of the U:S. version, including the ability to pick out low flying targets accurately, the news agency said.

UNI quoted unidentified defense experts as saying the Soviet offer could also be rejected because it would set back Indian efforts to produce its own AWACS version by 1990.

An Indian defense ministry spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

Reports of increased supplies of U.S. made arms, including AWAGS, to Pakistan have raised tensions between India and Pakistan. The two countries have fought three wars against each other since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

The UNI report was published two days after a Senior Indian Opposition leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, warned that Pakistan would use its U.S. supplied weapons against India and not Afghanistan or the Soviet Union.

Vajpayee, Indian Foreign Minister from 1977 to 1979, said the Indian government should persuade Moscow to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, as its presence was giving the United States an excuse to supply arms to Pakistan.

Islamabad says it needs the U.S. made weapons because of the presence of an estimated 115,000 Soviet troops in Afghanistan following Moscow’s 1979 intervention there.

New Delhi has traditionally bought most of its arms from Moscow, but has also held talks recently on possible weapons purchases from Washington.

Article extracted from this publication >>  January 9, 1987