Boeing Co, considered the front runner in the race to supply the Indian navy with new fighter jets, is now in contention for a much bigger US$15 billion order after the government abruptly asked the air force to consider the twin-engined planes.
Narendra Modi's crushing election win over the governing Congress party in May 2014, signalled a fresh opportunity for India to make major economic and social changes that the defeated Congress party-led United Progressive Alliance failed to achieve during its long rule. After his victory, Modi opted for a slimmer government than the previous administration, which he said would help speed up decision-making and slash India's notorious bureaucracy. The Hindu nationalist leader has also made efforts to kick-start fresh relations with China, Pakistan and the United States, which had denied him visa in 2005 on human rights grounds over anti-Muslim riots in his home state of Gujarat. Modi denies wrongdoing and was never charged over the violence that left 1,000 dead. Modi comes from a caste near the bottom of the Indian social hierarchy. He is single and is widely known as a workaholic intent on shaking India's economy out of its doldrums.