Washington: Expressing ''deep disappointment'' over the rejection of American fighters in an Indian Air Force tender, the Pentagon on Friday put on a brave face to say that US-India defence ties would remain unaffected. The rejection obviously hurt as the multi-billion dollar contract was touted as the biggest such deal in the world and had thousands of American jobs riding on the outcome.
Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan said the Defence Department was ''deeply disappointed'' at India's decision to exclude American companies from the purchase order.
''We are deeply disappointed by this news but we look forward to continuing to grow and develop our defence partnership with India and remain convinced that the United States offers our defence partners around the globe the world's most advanced and reliable technology,'' Col Lapan said.
To allay any apprehensions that the rejection may affect Indo-US ties at a political level the White House separately issued a statement saying president Barack Obama viewed India-US ties as an anchor to America's approach in Asia.
Spokesperson Carney said the US is committed to deepening its relationship with India and would continue to pursue top priorities with the country.
''President Obama has great respect for the Indian people, a close partnership with prime minister Singh, and views this relationship as an anchor to our approach in Asia and the promise of the 21st century,'' Carney said.