India prefers LCA to Overseas Purchase

India prefers LCA to Overseas Purchase 16 May, 2020

One of world’s biggest arms importer India plans to abolish its $15 billion order to acquire foreign military aircraft bid. India plans to switch to locally-made fighter jets.

India set up a tender to years ago and asked global companies to submit proposals to supply 114 combat aircraft.

Indian air force is changing its plans to induct indigenously made Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas. Indian Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat said in an interview in New Delhi. It will buy an additional 83 jets, apart from an earlier deal for 40 aircraft, for $6 billion, he said.

“The Indian Air Force is switching that to the LCA,” Rawat said, when asked about the global tender for jets.

Three companies (Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Saab AB) were bidding for the $15 billion order. Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week stressed the need to buy locally made products to boost an economy battered by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The process to buy fighter jets started more than a decade ago. India scrapped a long-awaited order with Dassault Aviation for 126 Rafales worth $11 billion in 2015, but has since bought 36 of the planes to speed replacement of older aircraft.

U.S., China and India were the world’s three biggest military spenders in 2019, followed by Russia and Saudi Arabia. For the fiscal 2020-21 India has earmarked $ 66.9 billion for defence but budget cuts are imminent because of CoVID-19 pandemic.

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