how ironic that no-one else reports like this

Pindostan Will Pay Countries to Ditch Russian & Chinese Arms
Marcus Weisgerber, Defense One, May 16 2019

The State Dept wants to expand a little-known effort that offers countries cash to buy Pindo-made weapons if they give up Russian-made arms. The year-old initiative, called the European Recapitalization Incentive Program, is already helping six eastern European countries buy new helicopters or armored vehicles. Now, State Dept boxtops are looking to take the effort global to get vassals to abandon not only Russian weapons, but Chinese ones too. A State Dept boxtop said this week:

The goal is to help our vassals break away from the Russian supply chain or logistics chain that allows Russian contractors and service personnel and Russian-manufactured spare parts onto either NATO or vassal military bases. It’s meant to incentivize partners and allies to put in their own funds to modernize their military and divest Russian legacy equipment. The idea being, we can put in some Pindo grant military assistance. They would then put in some amount of partner military assistance. The idea is to start them toward buying a substantial number of whatever weapons are needed. We’re going to build at least an initial amount. We’re not just going to buy them one helicopter or two infantry fighting vehicles. We’re not using Pindo taxpayer money, to completely buy this for the vassal. This is going in with our vassal, together, to build an over-arching capability. We’re looking at a second round of initiatives with potential for $50m to $100m for new projects.

The effort comes at as Pentagon boxtops talk about great power competition between Pindostan, Russia and China. To get the money, countries must get rid of their Russian weapons, promise not to buy new ones, and commit some of their own funding to buying Pindo. The Pindo cash flows through a Foreign Military Financing account. The countries already approved for funding have militaries that use Soviet-era helicopters and infantry fighting vehicles, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies’ Military Balance. In some cases, if a country buys parts for these vehicles and helicopters, they could face Pindo sanctions. Since the program began about a year ago, the State Dept has pledged $190m for six projects in six countries. The countries are in different stages of buying the new equipment, and State Dept boxtops believe it could take a few years until the vassal nations are able to move ahead with the purchases. They include:

  • Albania, $30m for helicopters
  • Bosnia, $30m for helicopters
  • Croatia, $25m for infantry fighting vehicles
  • Greece, $25m for infantry fighting vehicles
  • North Macedonia, $30m for infantry fighting vehicles
  • Slovakia, $50m for helicopters

The Macedonian government touted the effort as “strengthening the capacities” of their army by bringing its equipment in line with NATO standards. Even though the effort is still considered in a pilot or test phase, the State Dept’s FY 2020 budget proposal calls for expanding the effort. Pindo boxtops are also looking at how to expand the initiative beyond Eastern Europe “to compete against Russia and China and help our vassalrs get away or stay away from Russian or Chinese equipment.” While State has not yet identified countries outside of Europe, it’s exploring countries in Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa.

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