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SOURCE: RAJU GAEKWAD / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

Twice in last few weeks Lockheed Martin has made two contrary statements on its F-16s offer to India and has failed to follow up with clarifications. Lockheed Martin which is under intense scrutiny under Trump administration on its over budget and delayed F-35 5th generation stealth fighter aircraft program might withdraw from setting up a plant in India for the F-16 production plant in India might make in India wary of purchase of arms from United states in the future.

United states in last few years have emerged has India’s second biggest defence equipment supplier but most of the deals have been through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) with no involvement of transfer of technology (TOT) or offset obligations which allowed American companies to crack deals without any actual presence of competitions in India.

Americans largely have shyed away when it comes to Transfer of technology (TOT) to India and due to their own shortcomings have not emerged as a major supplier of offensive weapons to India. Supply of American fighter jet to India could have been first big success of American companies in this department but possible U-Turn from Lockheed Martin might also hurt chances of Boeing which is looking at possible sale of its F-18 Super Hornet fighter jet to meets Indian air force’s Twin engine fighter requirements and also Carrier-borne requirements of Indian Navy .

India not only has been a major importer of defence equipment in the world but also has emerged has a country which protects Intellectual property rights (IPRs) when it comes to Transfer of technology (TOT).

While no major arms producing country can ignore India since it is always spoilt for choices when it comes to supplying of defence equipment. American defence companies under Trump administration are on the sticky ground here, if they choose to ignore India’s demand they will forgo all the inroads they were able to make in Indian defence market after years of mistrusts between both the countries.

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