Campaigners accused Prime Minister David Cameron today of acting as hawker-in-chief for the arms industry following his attempts to secure a deal for the Eurofighter during his visit to India.
Since his election, Mr Cameron has been involved in a number of high-profile trade delegations accompanied by representatives of the British arms industry.
And this week, although he stressed that negotiations were a matter for the UK-German-Spanish-Italian Eurofighter consortium - which includes BAE Systems - Mr Cameron said he would see whether the Indian authorities were ready to "reconsider" their choice of a French rival.
Last year French contractor Dassault Aviation was chosen as the preferred bidder for the £6.4 billion contract to supply 126 jet fighters to the Indian air force.
But French President Francois Hollande returned from a recent visit to New Delhi without a signature on a final contract.
Speaking in Mumbai, Mr Cameron said: "I think Typhoon is a superior aircraft. It has the advantage of all the partner nations behind it. It is an aircraft that, of course, for those countries that want to buy it, we can make some aeroplanes available within months because there are so many countries already using it.
"We also have very interesting offers to make in terms of industrial participation and technology transfer and the company has said it would look again at price. But that is for them to discuss with the Indian authorities."
Last year the PM sparked anger from anti-arms campaigners when he led a trade delegation to the Middle East, during which he discussed arms deals with a number of authoritarian regimes including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
On his return the PM used a speech at the Lord Mayor of London's Banquet to defend his activities, saying: "Some people are a bit squeamish about me flying off around the world to help our defence industry."
Campaign Against Arms Trade spokeswoman Kaye Stearman told the Star: "Some people may be 'squeamish' but increasing numbers are sickened and disgusted by his jaunts, of which this trip to India is just the latest example.
"Rather than promoting and subsidising the arms industry, the government should be building up ethical alternatives, including the renewable energy sector."
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