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India rules out joining US in 5th gen fighter programme

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BANGALORE (BNS): India on Wednesday ruled out joining the US in developing the F-35 Lightning II fifth generation stealth fighter aircraft.

“We have already entered into a partnership with Russia in developing our own fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA),” Defence Minister A K Antony said.

“No other country has previously offered such technology to us… There is no question of going back now,” the Defence Minister told reporters during the Aero India 2011 which began in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Washington had recently offered New Delhi to join its Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme that would have ultimately led India to purchase the fifth generation F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter.

"There is nothing on our side, no principle which bars that on our side, Indian participation in the Joint Strike Fighter. Right now, they're focused on these aircraft which are top-of-the-line fourth-gen fighters," under secretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics Ashton Carter, had said few days ago.

The decision to pursue the F-35 was to be taken by India only, the Pentagon official had said.

Nine partnering countries are developing the F-35 fighter aircraft led by US defence major Lockheed Martin.

India’s HAL has partnered with Russia’s Sukhoi to design and develop the FGFA for its air force.

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F-35  FGFA  Aero India  
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