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No Pressure on India to Buy F-16 Fighter Jets from US: Says Edgard Kagan

A senior US diplomat has said,”the United States is not going to put pressure on India to buy F-16 fighter jets or any other defence system. United States Consul General in Mumbai Edgard Kagan said India has purchased more than USD 15 billion worth of American defence materials and the US is “very proud” of the expanding defence ties between the two countries.

While avoiding a direct answer on the threat of the US imposing trade sanctions on India after its multi-billion deal with Russia for the S-400 air-defence system, Kagan said, “The idea that the US is going to pressure India to buy the F-16 or any other system is not true. We believe that American military systems bring tremendous capability to India or any other country which buys that. But we recognise that India makes its decisions on its own grounds.”

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“But we recognize that India makes its decisions on its own grounds,” he told PTI in an interview. Kagan said it was important to recognize that decisions have consequences and India was very well aware where the US stands on a variety of issues. There are also matters that both countries can work closely to resolve. US is “very proud” of the expanding defence partnership with India. The fact is that India has purchased over $15 billion worth of American defence materials and there hasn’t been one hint of a scandal,he said.

American lawmakers, however, have allowed the possibility of a presidential waiver. “There hasn’t been one suggestion of any impropriety and that’s very significant. The American defence procurement are transparent. All details are published on the US site,” he said.

“When you compare the track record of the C-17 purchases for instance, or C-130 purchases, which were all done on budget, on time and in a very transparent way without a single hint of impropriety with many other defence procurement, the difference is quite striking,” he said. The C-17 and the C-130 are US-made cargo aircraft.

The C-17 and the C-130 are US-made cargo aircraft. Asked about the Indian government directing social media platforms to take concrete steps to check spread of rumors and messages inciting unrest, cyber crimes and other activities that could jeopardize national security, he said putting restrictions is no solution.

Asked about the Indian government directing social media platforms to take concrete steps to check the spread of rumors and messages inciting unrest, cyber crimes and other activities that could jeopardize national security, he said putting restrictions is no solution. “I would be very concerned trying to restrict speech either on social media or anywhere else. The challenge is only to make sure that you understand the consequences of their actions.

Kagan said India has done very well since independence in terms of ensuring freedom of speech, and having a free and vibrant press.

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