The United States Attempts To Lure India Away From Russia By Displaying F-35s And Bombers- This week, the US brought the F-35, its most modern fighter jet, and F-16s, Super Hornets, and B-1B bombers to India for the first time to lure New Delhi away from Russia, its longtime military supplier.
India, which is frantically trying to update its primarily Soviet-era fighter jet fleet to increase its air force, is worried about Russian supply disruptions brought on by the conflict in Ukraine and is under pressure from the West to sever ties with Moscow.
The largest American delegation in the 27-year history of the Aero India exhibition in Bengaluru, which finishes on Friday, highlights the expanding strategic partnership between the United States and India. Russia, which has been India’s top weapons supplier since the days of the Soviet Union, had a minimal presence in comparison.
State-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport shared a booth alongside Almaz-Antey, United Aircraft, and tanks, trucks, radars, and airplanes in miniature. Even though Russia hasn’t sent a fighter jet to Bengaluru in ten years—since India started considering more European and American fighter jets—Rosoboronexport had a more prominent location for their stall in earlier iterations of the exhibition.
The second aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy needs fighter jets. Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) F-21, an updated F-16 built for India and revealed at Aero India in 2019, is also being offered to the air force. Boeing (BA.N) F/A-18 Super Hornets have already entered the race.
Tensions with China and Pakistan have pushed a $20 billion air force proposal to purchase 114 multi-role fighter aircraft into stark relief, which has been on hold for five years.
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According to an Indian Air Force (IAF) source, India is not considering the F-35 “as of now.” Still, the first-ever demonstration of two F-35s at Aero India showed Washington’s growing strategic relevance to New Delhi.
According to independent defense analyst Angad Singh, it was “not a sales pitch” but rather a signal of the value of the bilateral defense relationship in the Indo-Pacific area.
Even while arms sales aren’t the foundation of the relationship, he continued, “India and the U.S. are cooperating and collaborating at the military level.”
The nations permitted to purchase F-35s from the United States are chosen carefully. Rear Admiral Michael L. Baker, the defense attache of the American embassy in India, responded that New Delhi was still “very early in the stages” of deciding whether it wanted the jet when asked if it would be offered to India.
The American delegation to the Aero India show in Bengaluru is the biggest in the 27-year history of the show.
U.S. tries to woo India away from Russia with display of F-35s, bombers https://t.co/dwAswNKcOA
— Ken Moriyasu (@kenmoriyasu) February 17, 2023
An IAF spokesperson did not answer requests for comment regarding the IAF’s interest in F-35s.
Before the event, state-run Russian media outlets reported that Moscow had given New Delhi armaments worth roughly $13 billion over the previous five years and had ordered another $10 billion.
In the previous six years, the United States has authorized the sale of weaponry to India, totaling more than $6 billion. These deliveries include transport aircraft, helicopters including the Apache, Chinook, and MH-60, missiles, air defense systems, naval guns, and P-8I Poseidon observation aircraft.
In addition, India aspires to increase domestic defense equipment production in partnership with multinational corporations to meet domestic demand and export advanced weapon platforms.
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