India may not acquire the US F-16 fighter aircraft in the immediate future.
Indian defense minister Manohar Parrikar in reply to a question in Parliament last Friday said, “ India only needs experience of flying flying against F-16 and we are not going to induct F-16, at least, as of now.”
“The main aim was Indian fighter pilots getting first-hand experience flying against F-16s during the on-going Red Flag joint exercise. The crucial part of the exercise is getting accustomed so as to counter enemy planes like the F-16,” Parrikar said.
"During the exercise, we are getting very crucial important data about flying against aircraft which are there in the stockpile of our adversaries. So we actually learn how to counter them," he said.
Lockheed Martin had submitted proposal for fighter jets under the Centre’s “Make in India” initiative.
"We are ready to manufacture F-16 in India and support the Make in India initiative," Phil Shaw, chief executive of Lockheed Martin India had said during the Singapore Airshow 2016.
Lockheed Martin's wish to manufacture F-16 is based on the strong demand from the Indian armed forces and would want to lower the cost of the planes for exports by using the low-cost capability in India.
India has sought guarantee from US for technology transfer in case any US based company bids for fighter jet program under the ‘Make in India’ initiative last month.