US sore after India rejects fighter aircraft bid

New Delhi: The US on Thursday said it was "deeply disappointed" at losing out in the bid for India's multi-billion dollar fighter deal contract but was "respectful" of the procurement process.

US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer. Larry Downing/Reuters

In a statement, Ambassador Timothy Roemer, who quit his diplomatic position on Thursday, said he had been assured at the highest levels in the Indian government that the procurement process for the fighters "has been and will be transparent and fair".

"The US Embassy in New Delhi was informed on Wednesday that two aircrafts offered by the US government through the foreign military sales process were not selected for procurement by the Indian ministry of defence," the statement said.

"We are reviewing the documents received from the Government of India and are respectful of the procurement process. We are, however, deeply disappointed by this news," Roemer said.

He was commenting on the rejection of Boeing's F-18 and Lockheed-Martin's F-16 fighters by India in the bid for multi-billion dollar Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal in which Eurofighter and French plane Rafale have been shortlisted.

Roemer said he was "extremely confident" that the Boeing F-18IN and Lockheed-Martin F-16IN would provide the Indian Air Force an "unbeatable platform with proven technologies at a competitive price".

Remaining convinced that the US offers its defence partners the world’s most advanced and reliable technology, the envoy said, "We look forward to continuing to grow and develop our defence partnership with India."

PTI