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Germany lobbies India to buy Eurofighters, submarines

NEW DELHI: Germany’s defense minister held out the prospect of more talks on a possible sale of Eurofighter jets to India and, on a visit to New Delhi, said on Wednesday Berlin stood ready to back a multi-billion-dollar Indian submarine project.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has just marked his first year in office, cut through an impasse over a troubled tender for high-end combat jets by announcing a deal in France last month to buy 36 Rafales from Dassault.
India has since said the original tender, launched by the last government to acquire 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft, is all but dead, but rival jet makers are hoping the $14 billion tender will be reopened.
The Eurofighter, made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, was knocked out in the final round of the tender by Rafale. But controversy over the lifetime cost of operating the French plane blocked a final deal. “I again conveyed to the defense minister the interest of the Eurofighter nations in continuing talks, should the Indian side be interested,” German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said.
“That was was taken on board positively,” she added, after meeting her counterpart, Manohar Parrikar, on Wednesday evening. Germany has taken the lead in the sales pitch to India for the Eurofighter, made by Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Finmeccanica, Airbus Group and BAE Systems.