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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid