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The United States’ proposal to co-produce the Stryker Armoured combat vehicle in India continues to gain momentum. A recent visit by a US team aimed to finalize specific requirements for the Indian Army’s needs. However, the project faces both potential and roadblocks.

While the Army evaluated the Stryker favorably during joint Indo-US military exercises, concerns exist about its current form. Reportedly, the smaller engine hinders its suitability for high-altitude operations. The project has also drawn criticism from Indian private and public sectors who claim they can deliver a comparable solution at a lower cost. Three local companies have proposed DRDO’s WhAP platform, while DRDO itself is developing the New Advanced Armoured Platform (AAP-Wheeled).

These indigenous alternatives create competition for the Stryker deal. Local players are likely to leverage the “Make in India” initiative, which promotes domestic defence production, to bolster their proposals. This competition could potentially drive down costs and encourage technology transfer, benefiting the Indian Army in the long run.

Despite the challenges, the US remains committed to the project. General Manoj Pande’s upcoming visit to the US, where he will interact with the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, underscores this commitment. This interaction could provide further insights into Stryker’s capabilities and address Indian concerns.

The Indian Army will ultimately decide whether to proceed with the Stryker co-production, opt for a local alternative, or pursue a different path altogether. The coming months will likely see intense negotiations and considerations as India navigates its strategic defence partnerships and technological ambitions.

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