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India not worried about Pakistan upgrading F-16s
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September 24, 2008 17:56 IST
Last Updated: September 25, 2008 10:31 IST

Amid reports that the United States is upgrading Pakistan's F-16 fighter fleet, Indian Air Force chief Fali H Major said on Wednesday that the development was not very worrisome.

"Not very (worrisome)," he said when asked about the US proposal to upgrade the fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft it sold to Pakistan a few decades back.

The US has agreed to upgrade the Pakistan Air Force fleet of F-16 fighter aircraft at a cost of over USD 230 million, which will bring the aircraft to the the advanced Block 50/52 level, an advanced version of the F-16.

Major admitted that China had a better air force in terms of size and capability but said it would not be proper to compare it with the Indian Air Force.

"China has been ahead of us and has developed immense capabilities in aerospace and space technologies because of many other factors ... they have a different form of government, different form of judiciary and bureaucracy. It is difficult to compare China with a vibrant democracy like ours," the Air Chief Marshal said releasing the brochure on the 3rd International Conference on Energising Indian Aerospace Industry: New Partnerships, New Opportunities.

On the the Indian private defence industry, Major said the indigenous industry needed to develop its capabilities to gain from the new defence procurement policy.

"The Indian industry has been found wanting in terms of capability and it would be difficult for it to absorb offsets that would worth over 15 to 20 per cent of the US $ 100 billion being spent by the Defence Ministry in the next plan period," said Major.

Major said the new Defence Procurement procedure 2008 had simplified the participation of industry in the defence sector and urged them to develop technologies and systems that would add to the capabilities of the defence forces.
"Now the industry needs only one license from the Ministry of Industry to work in the defence sector. Processes have been simplified and the industry should benefit from them," he said.
Major added the government is encouraging public-private partnerships, joint ventures and transfer of technology in the
defence sector and the industry could make best use of these partnerships.

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