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No proposal to buy F-16 fighters for IAF: Minister

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New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) There is no proposal to buy F-16 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force at the moment, the government said on Friday.

This comes as Tata Group and American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin have signed a deal to jointly produce the F-16 fighter jets in India, which was signed during the Paris Air Show in June.

Under the deal, Lockheed will shift its Fort Worth, Texas plant to India.

“There is no immediate proposal to procure F-16 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. Details of agreements entered into by Indian companies in this regard are not held by the government,” Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.

“Any future procurement of fighter jets for the Indian Air Force would be undertaken under the extant procurement procedures,” the Minister said.

Earlier this week, Bhamre was asked in the Rajya Sabha if India and the US have agreed for transfer of sophisticated technology and production of F-16 fighter jets under ‘Make in India’.

The Minister replied in the negative.

After signing the agreement in Paris, Lockheed Martin in a statement had said: “The F-16 Block 70 is ideally suited to meet the Indian Air Force’s single-engine fighter needs and this unmatched US-Indian industry partnership directly supports India’s initiative to develop private aerospace and defense manufacturing capacity in India.”

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