India has announced today by deciding not to go ahead with the purchase of the F-16 fighter aircraft from America.
Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in his interview that New Delhi rejected the US offer due to certain reasons. The Narendra Modi government dismissed the proposal made by Lockheed Martin Corporation to manufacture F-16 jets in India. The US firm lobbied aggressively to win confidence of the Indian government, but all in vain. The Defence Minister further stated that the Indian Air Force (IAF) had no immediate plan to induct the F-16.
When a lawmaker suggested in Lower House of the Parliament that Indian fighter pilots should get first-hand experience of flying F-16s during the ongoing Red Flag joint exercise in Alaska, Parrikar told the House that the exercise would help IAF pilots counter enemy planes, like the F-16. “During the exercise, we are getting very crucial important data about flying against aircraft which are there in the stockpile of our adversaries. So, we actually learn how to counter them,” stressed the minister.
Parrikar admitted that the US based firm, Lockheed Martin made desperate attempts to sell F-16 jets to India, he made it clear that no Indian companies would be allowed to team up with the American defence firm for manufacturing fighter jets. During their meeting with senior Lockheed Martin representatives in New Delhi earlier this month, Indian Defence Ministry officials said that there was no possibility of setting up the final assembly line in the South Asian country. Also, Lockheed Martin has not been allowed to participate in the ‘Make in India’ project.
Indian government is watching changing political situation and may like to revisit its decision post presidential election in the US.