News / Asia

US 'Deeply Disappointed' by Indian Fighter Deal Setback

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet takes off from the flight deck of the USS George Washington during 'Keen Sword' U.S.-Japan joint military exercise over the Pacific Ocean (File Photo)
A U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet takes off from the flight deck of the USS George Washington during 'Keen Sword' U.S.-Japan joint military exercise over the Pacific Ocean (File Photo)
Kurt Achin

U.S. efforts to forge defense industry links with India have been handed a major setback:  the Indian air force has eliminated American aviation companies from the competition to supply India with a new generation of fighter jets.  

Outgoing Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer said in a statement Thursday the U.S. was "deeply disappointed" to learn that India is no longer considering two advanced American fighter plane models in its $10 billion bid to modernize its air force.

That statement came hours after Roemer formally announced his resignation, citing "personal reasons."

India also rejected Russian and Swedish aircraft, leaving Britain's Eurofighter and France's Dassault Rafale as the finalists in the contest to fill India's order for 126 planes.  The U.S. fighters, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin's F-16, were rejected for what Indian officials describe as failure to meet technical criteria.

Viewed as snub

The rejection may be seen as a snub by many in Washington. President Obama personally lobbied senior Indian officials when he was here in Delhi last year. Senior U.S. defense authorities envisioned the deal as a foundation stone in a growing strategic partnership.

But Chintamani Mahapatra, a U.S. studies professor at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, says it just comes down to business.

"The decision by the government of India is not related at all to the Indo-US strategic partnership," said Mahapatra. "Whoever deserves it, will get it."

Mahapatra points out that India put out an open tender, and is under no obligation to any particular country. He says in an increasingly dangerous world, there is no real risk of the U.S. and India drifting apart.

"I don't think that it is going to be a great setback [in] the bilateral relationship," he said. "It may be a very, extremely transitional hiccup."

India is spending tens of billions of dollars to upgrade its defense capabilities, with an eye primarily on rival Pakistan to the west, and Pakistan's strategic partner, China, to the east.

Process of elimination

The Indian air force has not made public any of the criteria it used in eliminating the American fighters from consideration. Jasjit Singh, director of the Center for Air Power Studies in Delhi, wonders whether the complexity of criteria in the competition may have caused planners to lose sight of the bigger picture.

"My own choices might have been different," said Singh. "At this point in history, the United States is far more important to India than any European country - for the simple reason that the European countries simply do not have the capacity, economic, technological, or otherwise, that can match the U.S. capabilities."

Thursday's statement from the U.S. Embassy in Delhi says Indian officials have given their assurance the fighter selection process will be "transparent and fair."  It adds that Washington looks forward to continuing to grow and develop its defense partnership with India.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs