F-16 in India: Will Donald Trump stop the Indo-US deal?
WASHINGTON: (APP) While Present-elect Donald Trump continues to emphasize his promise of keeping American jobs in the country, the administration of the outgoing President Barack Obama is working with the US Defense industry on a deal with the Indian government to build the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F/A-18 Super Hornet in India.
Securing American jobs and discouraging companies to relocate outside the US has been one of the major slogans of Mr. Trump who defied all polls to secure a victory against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, and is ready to take on the presidency on January 20.
Various media reports, including the one in the leading newspaper,the Washington Post, have reported the ongoing efforts on the deal that runs contrary to the expressed thoughts of Mr. Trump. "As Trump Vows to stop flow of job overseas, US plans to make fighter jet in India," the Washington Post headlined the story.
According to media reports, Lockheed Martin and Boeing have made proposals in recent months to the Indian government to manufacture the two iconic fighter jets in production facilities in India. Lockheed Martin has proposed to move its entire F-16 assembly line from Texas to India. If that happened, it will make India the sole producer of the combat aircraft, which forms the mainstay of Pakistan's fighter jet fleet.
The Lockheed Martin's plan to move its F-16 facility to Indian comes to the backdrop of the US military plans to phase out F-16 for its own use. The Obama administration, which has sought to force closer ties with India, has strongly backed up the proposal, according to the reports.
However, the election of Mr. Trump, who has repeatedly said he would crackdown on what he called as "foreign trade abuse" is likely to bring a measure of uncertainty on the ongoing talks on the project, according to one media report.
Appearing in post-election rallies in various states, and in his personal tweets, Mr. Trump has threatened to impose tax penalty on goods produced by companies that leave the United States. During his election campaign, he has criticized against loosing American jobs to Asia and Mexico.
While the Lockheed Marin has been producing aircraft in joint ventures with other nations before, it has never offered to relocate its only production line to another country. If that deal happened, Lockheed has promised that India would not only be manufacturing aircraft for its use and for exports, it would also be playing a "critical role" in supporting a fleet of about 3,200 F-16s in operation around the world.