India rejects Russia's fighter jet bid: official

29th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia confirmed on Friday that India had rejected its bid to supply its traditional ally with 126 multi-role combat aircraft in a deal worth about $12 billion.

A spokesman for the Rosoboronexport agency responsible for foreign military contracts said India had informed Russia of the decision earlier in the week.

The official added that no formal explanation was given for the decision and that the choice "was the exclusive right of India".

The US ambassador to New Delhi on Thursday said Washington was "deeply disappointed" that Lockheed Martin's F-16 and Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet had also been rejected.

India has made no official announcement but the US and Russian confirmations indicate that only the Dassault Rafale fighter of France and the joint Eurofighter Typhoon project are still in the running.

Russia hoped its Soviet-era ally would settle on the MiG-35 -- an updated version of the MiG-29 jet that is already being purchased by India.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) identified India as the world's biggest arms purchaser between 2006 and 2010 and Russia had remained its main supplier throughout.

The two sides agreed in December on the joint production of a fifth-generation fighter with stealth capabilities in deal potentially worth up to $30 billion.

India is Russia's second largest military client behind China.

© 2011 AFP

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