American companies are keen to bid for major arms purchases by the Indian armed forces, US Ambassador David Mulford said on Friday.
He conveyed this to Defence Minister AK Antony when he called on him in his office in the Capital in South Block. Mulford said the US armament systems had frontline technology and his country was keen to participate in the modernisation drive of the Indian armed forces, according to sources in New Delhi.
Mulford's comments assume significance as India is about to unveil its biggest ever global defence tender to purchase 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore.
Two US aviation majors -- Lockheed Martin with its F-16 jets and Boeing with its F-18/A fighters -- are two leading contenders for the deal.
The two American companies are also in the race for the Indian Navy's bid to purchase eight reconnaissance aircraft.
During the 40-minute meeting, Mulford also conveyed to Antony the USA's appreciation to India for allowing its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to berth off the Chennai port.