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IAF chief on Sweden visit, flies Gripen fighter

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, on an official trip to Sweden, has flown the Gripen fighter aircraft, a move that comes at a time when the government is in the process of shortlisting a combat assault plane under 'Make in India' initiative.

Raha flew the Gripen at the Saab's facility at Linkoping in Sweden on June 9, IAF officials said.

He flew the Gripen D aircraft with Wing Commander (Flying) Michael Lundquist.

Raha was on a five-day tour of Sweden as part of discussions on cooperation in aerospace and defence between the two countries agreed between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven during the 'Make in India summit' at Mumbai in February.

Sweden and Saab have offered the Gripen for production in India.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had recently said India will select a good fighter by the end of this fiscal year to be made domestically.

It is not yet decided which aircraft it would be, he had said adding it may be F-18, Rafale, Eurofighter or Gripen.

"The decision in this regard will be taken in this fiscal year," he had asserted.

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