23 August 2016
The proposal would give India partial control along with the U.S. over which countries are able to purchase F-16 fighter jets and spare parts, according to people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. That may allow India to choke off key supplies to Pakistan, which has relied on F-16s as its main aerial defense for decades, if the U.S. allows it do so.
“Some components may be produced only in India,” Abhay Paranjape, director of business development at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said in an interview about the company’s F-16 proposal.
Asked whether Pakistan would still be able to source F-16 jets or parts elsewhere under the arrangement, Paranjape said questions about foreign military sales policies should be referred to the U.S. government. Roger Cabiness, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense, in turn referred questions on the sale of F-16 spare parts to Lockheed.
The strategic element is a key selling point as Lockheed pushes to win an order that may exceed 100 fighter jets, part of Modi’s plan to spend $150 billion on the armed forces and create jobs under his “Make-in-India” policy. A deal would breathe new life into the F-16, an older model than the stealth F-35 warplane, and further boost U.S.-India defense ties at the expense of Pakistan.
… While many obstacles remain, an agreement with Lockheed Martin would cement closer ties between the nations if the U.S. government doesn’t prevent the transfer of advanced radar or avionics technologies, according to Anit Mukherjee, an assistant professor at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
IDSS / Online
Last updated on 24/08/2016