Bangalore: With the government stressing on transparency in defence deals, Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday said there would be "no favouritism" while awarding the USD 10 billion 126 fighter aircraft contract.
"I can assure you that we will not show favouritism to anybody. We will not neglect anybody. The procedure will be transparent and decision will ultimately be based on merits and quality and other conditions," Antony told reporters on the sidelines of the Aero India show here.
"No negative approach and no favouritism. All competitors will get a level playing field," he said.
Six global aerospace companies — American Boeing’s F/A-18 and Lockheed Martin’s F-16, French D’assault’s Rafale, Swede Saab’s Gripen, European consortium EADS’ Eurofighter Typhoon, and Russian MiG-35 — are competing for the IAF’s contracts for which the tenders were floated in 2007.
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The Defence Ministry plans to conduct the flight trials of the competing aircraft in about a year’s time.
On the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Antony said the most "exciting" moment for him at the show was the LCA performing different aerobatics.
"The manoeuvres of the Indian LCA make India feel proud. We are not going to stop with these initial successes. Our aim is to achieve at least 70 percent self-sufficiency and indigenous production capacity, which is currently about 30 percent. We will achieve this goal with the efforts of the DRDO, Defence PSUs and the armed forces," he added.