India has a lengthy procurement process, and no decision is expected until well after a national election due by May.
Lockheed has offered to move its F-16 production plant at Fort Worth, Texas, to India, if it wins the order in a boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Make-in-India plan to build a domestic military industrial base and create jobs.
It said it expected to export planes from the proposed plant in India on top of the Indian requirements for an overseas market that it estimated at $20 billion.
But the Indian military has had concerns over the F-16 as an old plane and in an earlier competition it lost out to the eventual winner, the Rafale built by Dassault.
But Lockheed said the F-21 could be India's pathway to the stealth F-35 fighter, which has entered US service in one of the world's most expensive defence programmes.
"The F-21 has common components and learning from Lockheed Martin’s 5th Generation F-22 and F-35 and will share a common supply chain on a variety of components," the company said.
It said production in India would create thousands of jobs for Indian industry as well as support hundreds of US-based Lockheed Martin engineering, programme management and customer support positions.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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