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US to sell advanced warplanes to India

Written by: Staff
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Washington, Mar 3 (UNI) Hours after President George Bush announced the landmark civilian nuclear cooperation pact with India, the US said it is prepared to sell its advanced warplanes and other high-tech arms to the country.

In a statement yesterday, the Pentagon said, ''the United States is committed to providing state-of-the art fighter aircraft in response to India's requirements for a multi-role combat aircraft.

We have indicated our intention to offer both F-16 and F-18 both combat proven aircraft. As additional capabilities enter our force, we will work with them to make it available.'' It said, ''Our proposal will also address India's interest in technology transfer and indigenous co-production.

It said, ''we are aware of past Indian concerns about reliability of supply. One of the key elements of the close partnership we have developed with the country is a clearer understanding of converging strategic interests and mutual respect of each other's priorities.

We are committed to addressing this priority. It is in the US interest to do so.'' ''The Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition is a prime opportunity to demonstrate the advances and transformation of the India-US relationship in the area of defence trade in general and reliability, in particular,'' the statement added.

''As defence trade and technology cooperation are vital components of our defence relationship, these will also serve as key objectives of our strategic partnership such as building ties among our defence establishments and industries and to develop interoperability among our armed forces,'' it said.

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