Why isn't India buying American fighter jets?
India has decided not to buy American F-16's or F/A-18's for the biggest defense tender in its history -- a pending $10 billion-plus contract for 126 multi-role combat aircraft. Following field trials, it has instead shortlisted the Rafale, made by France's Dassault, and the Typhoon, produced by a European consortium. Skeptics of Indo-U.S. strategic partnership view this as yet another Indian snub to the United States, arguing that the promise of Indo-American entente that was to follow from the historic civilian-nuclear agreement of 2008 has proven hollow.
The charge is that American proponents of closer cooperation with India have oversold India's willingness or ability to partner with the United States. India is unreliable, they argue -- just look at its failure to enact liability legislation that would bring the 2008 civilian-nuclear agreement into force. For the skeptics, Indian foreign policy, rather than tilting in a more pro-American direction, remains guided by non-alignment and an abiding concern for strategic autonomy -- if not an outright hostility to the West, as in the bad old days of the Cold War.
While India's decision is certainly disappointing, this analysis is flawed.
For the full article, see Foreign Policy.