On Thursday, a vice president at the US defense contractor Lockheed Martin said that the company was willing to turn India into the sole producer of the F-16 aircraft by shutting the only active production line in Texas and shifting it to India.
"F-16 can be a nice replacement for the MiG-21 aircraft. Because when Rafale deal will materialize is not clear," he said.
"We have to see whether they are bringing their technology, we have to see that they should not make India just an assembly point. They must bring their technology here and fighter planes should be manufactured here. It will create employment opportunities here and foster our technological development," he pointed out.
In January 2016, India and France signed an intergovernmental agreement on the purchase of the 36 Rafale fighter jets. The French Dassault aviation manufacturer first asked almost $12 billion for the aircraft, while New Delhi demanded a 30-percent cut to the price. In May, Paris has agreed to decrease the pricing by some 7-8 percent, thus the France’s current offer stands at some $8.6 billion.