Indian Defence Minister Resisting U.S. Lobbying on $ 10 bn Fighter Aircraft

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  1. smartindian

    smartindian Regular Member

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    Indian Defence Minister Resisting U.S. Lobbying on $ 10 bn Fighter Aircraft
    India’s defence minister A.K.Antony is reported to be resisting American attempts to use an Indo-U.S. Strategic dialogue as a lobbying point to sell American warplanes in the $10 billion MMRCA deal.


    A high power visit by the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has been cancelled because Antony indicated unavailability to meet with top American officials including Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates.

    According to a report in an Indian newspaper, “The telegraph”, Clinton’s visit, which was to have been built around a second round of the Indo-US strategic dialogue, has been in the making for more than six months. But the Indian government requested postponement of the dialogue which was to begin on April 6 in New Delhi, but offered the excuse of the “state elections in India and ongoing developments in West Asia and North Africa” for the delay.

    Two U.S. companies, Lockheed Martin and Boeing are bidding along with four others in one of the biggest fighter procurement deals in history.

    The report speculated that the postponement became inevitable after Antony refused to meet US defence secretary Robert Gates who wanted to travel with Clinton to India. Gates was not part of the first round of the strategic talks and his inclusion was suspected to make a pitch for American defence sales to India.

    In recent days, the U.S. has increased its sales pitch on the MMRCA deal.

    The U.S. Ambassador to India, Timothy J Roemer said during a business gathering, "hopefully the next step (in Indo-U.S. relations) will be as India evaluates the Medium-Multi Role Combat aircraft deal... that they will decide to pick one of the US aircraft, the F-16 Super Viper ( Lockheed Martin ) or the F/A-18 ( Boeing ). This becomes the very logical next step in the relationship. This will be a very important indicator of where this relationship goes in the 21st century," the US Ambassador said while addressing a conference in New Delhi on 'America and Asia-Perspectives on Peace, Security and Development’.

    What the Ambassador said is being echoed openly by several American defence companies’ executives that it is “payback time” for India in exchange for the international support the U.S. has provided for its civil nuclear program and its claim for a place in the U.N. Security Council besides taking two Indian government organizations off the U.S. restricted ‘entities’ list.
    http://www.defenseworld.net/go/defensenews.jsp?id=5533&h=Indian%20Defence%20Minis%20ter%20Resisting%20%20U.S.%20Lobbying%20on%20$%2010%20%20bn%20Fighter%20Aircraft%20Deal
     
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  3. smartindian

    smartindian Regular Member

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    Cancellation of Gates'' India visit a missed opportunity:US

    american view

    Washington, Mar 15 (PTI) The cancellation of the India-US Strategic Dialogue due to assembly elections in India, in which Defence Secretary Robert Gates was scheduled to participate along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is being termed as a missed opportunity by the Pentagon.

    Gates was eagerly looking forward to his India trip in the first week of April along with Clinton, a senior Obama Administration official said, adding that visit of the top two cabinet members would have elevated the India-US strategic Dialogue.

    This possibly would have been the last visit of Gates in his capacity as the Defence Secretary as he has indicated to leave the current post early this year.

    Officials said Gates, who was keen to travel to New Delhi even in midst of the political unrest in the Middle East, is believed to express his disappointment over the cancellation of the visit.

    The officials familiar with the discussion between India and the US said that the office of the Defence Secretary was informed that Indian Defence Minister A K Antony would be unavailable when Gates visits New Delhi.

    When pressed, the office of the Defence Secretary was informed that "it would be suicidal" for an Indian politician to not to be in his constituency and instead have meetings in New Delhi with foreign dignitaries during election period.

    Officials indicated that Gates is now unlikely to travel to New Delhi given his packed schedule henceforth.

    The dates for the first week of April were decided months in advance, and it was the only dates when both Clinton and Gates were available.

    Antony hails from Kerala which will go to polls in April.

    http://news.in.msn.com/international/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5035164
     

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