The United States intends to sell India 3,724 TOW antitank missiles under a $32 million deal, signifying that the Carter adminsitration still has hopes of strengthening military relationships with New Delhi.
The proposal missile sale comes af-attempt to diversity its sources of mili-agreed to buy $1.6 billion in Sovient weapons, the biggest such arms deal between the two nations.
Some military officers fear the firstline TOW missiles, which have proved effective against tanks, could end up in Soviet hands as a result of the developing Soviet-Indian military reslationship.
The soldier firing the TOW keeps the tank in the cross hairs of his sight, and the missile flies itself into it through impulses transmitted by wires which trail out from the missile. The TOW can be fired from a helicopter as well as from a foxhole.
India, under the deal up for congressional approval, would receive 60 TOW launchers, 630 practice missiles, 3,724 for war-time use and associated spare parts and training equipment.
A State Department official yesterday said that there is little risk that India would let the Soviets have the TOW missiles, stressing that India's armed forces are assertively independent and will not be hosting Russian advisers in any quantity.
He added that the Soviet arms deal was started before Indira Gandhi returned to the prime minister's office in New Delhi and represented India's attempt to diversity its source of military supplies, not to slam the door on the United States.
Congress has 60 days to review the TOW proposal. The Pentagon said the TOW missiles "will assist the Indian army to improve its antitank capability and will help to foster an improved relationship between the United States and India."