ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Uttar Pradesh- Hara-Kiri after Encounter

September 30, 1978 F-5E jets from the United States followed Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram's assurance to Parliament (August 31) that a decision would be taken soon on replacements for the obsolete Hunters and Canberras. They also synchronised with reports of France's decision to scrap its deal for sale of a nuclear reprocessing plant to Pakistan, taken obviously under United States pressure. United States had linked resumption of arms aid to Pakistan to the latter not insisting on a nuclear reprocessing plant. Since France has backed out on it, resumption of United States arms aid to Pakistan is only a matter of time. Nevertheless the question of letting higher level military technology into the sub-continent remains because 14 months ago the United States had blocked the sale of Corsair A-7 bombers to Pakistan on this plea. More recently, the United States had objected to sale by Sweden of the Viggen aircraft to India on the same plea. Viggen was among the three types of aircraft Indian experts had evaluated as possible replacements for the Hunters and Canberras. The other two are the French Mirage F-l and the Anglo-French Jaguar. The Viggen has a United States-designed (Whitney) engine and therefore needs clearance from Washington for sale. The latest reports are that Sweden is determined to defy the United States on this issue and has indicated to India that its offer was not only open but that a more advanced model would be available to India at a later stage if an order was placed for the Viggen aircraft now.

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