US Never Offered India F-35 Jets, Unlikely it Would Share Technology: CDS Bipin Rawat

By Sputnik news

Indian media has reported in the past that New Delhi has on several occasions expressed interest in acquiring the F-35 fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) from American defence giant Lockheed Martin. General Bipin Rawat, India’s chief of defence staff, says that the technology has never been offered by the US to India.

Indian Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Thursday scotched a longstanding rumour about India’s possible acquisition of American F-35 fighter jets, as he told a foreign policy conference that Washington had never offered New Delhi the multirole combat aircraft.

“I am not sure the US will share this technology. What they have offered us is a lower version of the F series,” Rawat said during a panel discussion at the ongoing Raisina Dialogue conference.

The panel, titled Future of Conflict: How Will Democracies Respond, also featured Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin Tim Cahill, Australia’s Chief of the Defence Force General Angus Cambell, and General Koji Yamazaki, the chief of staff, joint staff of the Japan Self-Defence Forces.

Rawat’s remarks came in response to statements by Cahill, who touted the benefits of the American fighter jet to his co-panelists. “The F-35 is now cheaper than legacy fourth-generation fighters. Nations around the world are now buying more F-35s, based on the facts, merits, and costs of the system,” he said.

General Rawat pointed out during the discussion that the Indian Air Force (IAF) was “still exploring” its fighter jet options.

India’s quest for acquiring a fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) hit a roadblock in 2018 after it reportedly withdrew from a joint India-Russia venture to manufacture Su-57 jets.

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