India is set to give final approval to a $2.6 billion deal for military helicopters from U.S. defense firm Lockheed Martin ahead of a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump this month, defense and industry sources said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is trying to pull out all the stops for Trump’s trip in a bid to reaffirm strategic ties between the two countries, which have been buffeted by sharp differences over trade, to counter China. India’s defense purchases from the United States have reached $17 billion since 2007 as it has pivoted away from traditional supplier Russia, looking to modernize its military and narrow the gap with China. Modi’s cabinet committee on security is expected to clear the purchase of 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Indian navy in the next two weeks, a defense official and an industry source briefed on the matter separately told Reuters.
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