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Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd from right) and British foreign secretary William Hague (left) talk during a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd from right) and British foreign secretary William Hague (left) talk during a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. Photo: AFP

Britian’s William Hague plugs Eurofighter on visit to India

Foreign ministry says defence issues figured during the talks, as well as plans to build a 1,000km industrial corridor between Mumbai and Bangalore

New Delhi: Britain’s foreign secretary William Hague lobbied India on Tuesday to consider buying the Eurofighter, indicating that London has not yet abandoned hope of ousting France’s Rafale from a multi-billion-dollar order of multi-role combat jets.

“The UK foreign secretary did indicate the technological advantages of the product that they have available," Syed Akbaruddin, spokesman for ministry of external affairs, told reporters in response to a question.

Hague and finance minister George Osborne held intergovernmental talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new team, on a two-day visit to bolster trade and investment ties with Asia’s third-largest economy.

Akbaruddin confirmed that defence issues figured during Tuesday’s talks, as well as plans to build a 1,000km (600 mile) industrial corridor between India’s financial capital Mumbai and high-tech hub Bangalore.

London is hoping that a stalled deal for India to buy 126 Rafale jets from France’s Dassault Aviation may yet collapse, perhaps opening the door to a new deal involving the Eurofighter Typhoon jet that is partly built in Britain.

Osborne said in Mumbai on Monday that MBDA—a missile systems group in which BAE Systems has a stake—had signed a £250 million ($420 million) deal to supply defence equipment to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Other shareholders in MBDA are Airbus Group and Italy’s Finmeccanica. Reuters

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