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India today rejected a US bid for a $11 billion defence deal. Boeing and Lockheed Martin were in the running to provide India with 126 fighter jets, as the country boosted its defence budget to $32 billion.The rejection will come as a blow to the US after President Obama’s visit to India in November 2010 in which he hoped to boost trade between the two countries.
The deals were expected to create some jobs in the US and Boeing chief Jim McNerney had been part of the Obama delegation.
The Indian defence ministry has shortlisted France’s Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon to supply the country with 126 multi-role fighter jets.
The US had pitched Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Lockheed’s F-16 Super Viper and competitors were concerned that American clout would make Indian officials opt for US jets. Ater the nation was hit by major corruption scandals during Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh’s term in office however Indian officials were determined to keep politics out of the deal.
Back in 2008 when the two nations had signed the Indian-US civil nuclear deal, Washington had pushed for India to buy its aircrafts, according to The Financial Times.
As if that wasn’t enough, Timothy Roemer, US ambassador to India announced his resignation on the same day fueling speculation that he did so on account of the failed deal, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Roemer himself denied such rumours and said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Others believe he wanted to pursue political ambitions back in the US. In an statement to Bloomberg, Roemer said, the US is “respectful of the procurement process” and will continue to “develop our defence partnership with India.”