Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Britain’s offer of Eurofighter Typhoon "is still on the table" and that the country is ready to help Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) develop world-class fighter jets in India as part of the 'Make in India' initiative.
Exuding optimism of returning to 10 Downing Street after the May 7 elections, Cameron said in an interview that he was looking forward to meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to "discuss a heavy agenda", and saw India playing a "very big role" in Britain economy.
“The British offer of Eurofighter Typhoon to India is still on the table. It will come along with technological and engineering assistance for India to develop its own world class fighter aircraft. It will be a better deal than Rafale,” he told ‘Asian Lite’, a Manchester-based publication.
During a visit to France earlier this month, Modi, citing "critical operational necessity", announced that India would buy 36 Rafale jets in a "fly-away condition". However, the French jets are unlikely to be produced in India, as earlier envisaged.
The Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale were short-listed by the Indian Air Force in 2011 as part of its Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition, but Rafale was announced as the preferred bidder in 2011.
However, protracted negotiations since then between IAF and Rafale remained inconclusive, and the issue was overtaken by Modi’s announcement to buy the 36 Rafale jets. Britain is part of the European consortium producing the Eurofighter Typhoon.
Cameron, who made three visits to India as prime minister since 2010, said: “India is going to play a very big role in the success of British economy. Trade and investment relations have improved in the last five years and we need more political cooperation on climate change and other issue.”
He added: “I am looking forward to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss a heavy agenda.”
Dismissing reports of a change in leadership of Conservative party or the possibility of a hung parliament, he said: “I am not contemplating failure and I am contemplating success at this stage. I am sure I will get the mandate on May 7 to complete the work I started five years ago.”
According to him, the option of a Labour government joined or supported by the Scottish National Party “will ruin the economy and bring miseries to the communities.”