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Rejection of US fighters will not affect Indo-US ties: Antony

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US' F-18, F-16 fighters are out of IAF's bid for MMRCA programme.

JAISALMER (PTI): India’s decision to shortlist European aircraft over American warplanes was taken on merit and would not affect its bilateral relations with the US, Defence Minister A K Antony has said.

Antony, who was in Jaislamer on Monday to review the security situation along the Pakistan border, said the country wanted to procure the best available aircraft at the best available price and there should be “no ill-feeling” about it.

The Defence Minister was responding to a question about the rejection of US fighters in the bid for 126 Multirole-Medium Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal in which Eurofighter and French Rafale have been shortlisted.

The Minister said that relations between the US and India would remain unaffected despite the rejection. The US had expressed disappointment after the ouster of its F-16 and F-18 fighters from the IAF deal.

Antony was here on a day’s visit and went to forward locations along the international border in the desert state.

The minister also said that the defence forces of the country are prepared enough to counter the challenge of NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) war.

When asked about the infrastructure development along the border, he said that the country was not lagging behind in this respect.

Antony, who was briefed on operational and infrastructure issues, expressed satisfaction over the operational preparedness along the border.

The Defence Minister while interacting with troops promised to look into improving infrastructure and habitat for them.

Army Chief General V K Singh, Lt Gen A K Singh (General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Command), Lt Gen Narendra Singh (General Officer Commanding Konark Corps) and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar were among others present visiting officials to the area.

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MMRCA  Antony  
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