The UK hopes India may change its mind about a prospective fighter jet deal with France

Hopes for Eurofighter in India still alive

Britain's foreign secretary William Hague has tried to persuade India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to buy the UK's Eurofighter jets instead of France’s Rafales.

Hague met with Modi during his visit to New Delhi in a bid to get a stake for the UK from Modi’s efforts to rebuild India’s outdated infrastructure.

"We have always had a strong belief in the capabilities of the Eurofighter and its potential," Hague told reporters at a joint briefing with British finance minister George Osborne.

"It's always available to those countries that are able and willing to purchase it," he said.

London hopes 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 that is partly built in Britain.

Hague made it clear that Britain would not seek to pre-empt the talks on buying the French jets after Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius visited New Delhi last week. "We respect the process that is followed in India," he said at the end of a two-day visit.

Earlier, the Indian hosts confirmed that the question of replacing India's crash-prone fleet of Russian-built MiG-21 jets had come up in intergovernmental talks.

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

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

Osborne said Britain would open a 1 billion pound ($1.68 billion) credit line to invest in Indian infrastructure - the largest such facility extended to any sector in any country.

On Monday, he said in Mumbai that MBDA - a missile systems group in which BAE Systems has a stake - had signed a 250 million pound deal to supply defence equipment to the Indian Air Force.

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

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