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India Jet Deal Still Good For US

Sometimes the United States wins even when it loses. That’s the case with the impending deal to supply India with fighter jets: Boeing and Lockheed Martin, two American companies, have already been knocked out of the competition for the contract, which in the neighborhood of $20 billion is one of the largest aviation orders by a single country. The FT has the story:

An Indian contract to buy 126 fighter jets from one of two European bidders could be worth more than $20bn, almost double the original estimate, according to government officials.

The defence ministry revised up its initial $11bn estimate after opening bids on Friday from the Eurofighter Typhoon consortium and France’s Dassault, the maker of the Rafale aircraft, a ministry official told the Financial Times.

Even though the contract is not going to an American company, strengthening the military of our this important Asian country is still an American priority. With 126 new European-made fighter jets, India’s military becomes enormously stronger.  It’s also likely that those in Europe who want to maintain the EU’s (porous) embargo on arms sales to China will have a new argument to use: the Indians might not like Europe to be selling to China as well.  And while keeping the European arms industry alive may frustrate some US arms dealers, if the European military aerospace industry withers on the vine, the chances of an accelerated decline in Europe’s — and NATO’s — military strength would grow.

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