Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha is on an official visit to Sweden from June 7. During his stay in Sweden he will be calling on the Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist and is scheduled to hold bilateral discussions with the Supreme Commander of Swedish Armed Forces and the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The visit carries great significance as it is taking place after Swedish PM Stefan Lofven’s visit to India earlier this year in February to attend the Defense Expo-2016 held in Goa in southern India. Both India and Sweden identified defense as one of the key areas of cooperation during the visit.
Last month, in an interview to All India Radio, India's defense minister Manohar Parrikar 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. It may be F18, Rafale, Eurofighter or Gripen. The decision in this regard will be taken in this fiscal year.”
Recently, SAAB unveiled the Gripen E advanced fighter aircraft and offered to manufacture it in India. However, apart from SAAB, other global giants like Lockheed Martin and Boeing are also keen on catering to the requirements of the Indian Air Force. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have proposed to manufacture the F/A-18 and F-16 respectively under the Make in India mission.
However, only last month, Defense Minister Parrikar said in Parliament, "The experience of flying against F-16 is what we require as we are not going to induct the F-16, at least; as of now."