US tries to woo India away from Russia with display of F-35s, bombers
BENGALURU: The United States brought its most advanced fighter jet, the F-35, to India for the first time this week alongside F-16s, Super Hornets and B-1B bombers as Washington looks to woo New Delhi away from its traditional military supplier, Russia.
India, desperate to modernise its largely Soviet-era fighter jet fleet to boost its air power, is concerned about Russian supply delays due to the Ukraine war and faces pressure from the West to distance itself from Moscow.
The American delegation to the week-long Aero India show in Bengaluru, which ends on Friday, is the biggest in the 27-year history of the show and underlines the growing strategic relationship between the United States and India.
In contrast, Russia, India’s largest weapons supplier since the Soviet Union days, had a nominal presence. Its state-owned weapons exporter Rosoboronexport had a joint stall with United Aircraft and Almaz-Antey, displaying miniature models of aircraft, trucks, radars and tanks.
At previous editions of the show, Rosoboronexport had a more central position for its stall, although Russia has not brought a fighter jet to Bengaluru for a decade after India began considering more European and U.S. fighter jets.