A high-level delegation from Argentina is visiting the ongoing DefExpo 2022 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, as the two countries continue to explore new partnerships in the defense sector.
Led by Lt. Gen. Juan Martin Paleo, Joint Chief of Staff of the Argentine Armed Forces, the tour group visited the stand of Hindustan Aeronautic Limited (HAL) at Asia’s largest defense event.
HAL Director (Operations) EP Jayadeva and DK Sunil, Director (Engg and R&D) briefed Paleo and other senior officials on the various futuristic defense products on display.
The Argentine general also took a look at the locally designed and developed Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) “Prachand”, which was inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF) earlier this month.
As IndiaNarrative.com reports, Indian Tejas remains in contention for Buenos Aires to order 12 fighter jets, a final decision on which could be made in the coming months.
Pakistan’s JF-17 fighter jets jointly developed with China, South Korea’s FA-50, Russia’s MiG-35 and US F-16s also remain in contention as Argentina’s air force desperately seeks to acquire a new hunter.
While Argentina and the UK are engaged in a territorial dispute over ownership of the Falkland Islands, India is offering a modified LCA Tejas Mk1A variant to the South American country with the replacement of UK-made parts.
This is the second high-level visit by Latin American national defense officials to India this year. In March, Brigadier General Xavier Julian Isaac, head of the Argentine air force, and Daniela Castro, secretary of research, industrial policy and production for defense, were present with the aim of consolidating bilateral cooperation in the defense industry.
The delegation met with Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar and Indian Air Force Chief Vivek Ram Chaudhari and also visited the aircraft, helicopter and engine manufacturing facilities of HAL which manufactures Tejas.
Extensive discussions on bilateral defense cooperation continued during the visit of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Buenos Aires last August.
India’s modern fourth-generation fighter jet was on the agenda when Jaishankar met Argentine Defense Minister Jorge Taiana and Strategic Affairs Secretary Mercedes Marco del Pont in the Argentine capital.
The two countries reviewed their ongoing cooperation in the strategic sectors of defence, nuclear energy and space and reiterated their commitment to work together for mutual benefit. It was also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the defense sector under the Memorandum of Understanding on Defense Cooperation signed in 2019.
“EAM, recognizing Argentina’s interest in the Made in India Tejas fighter aircraft for the Argentine Air Force, underscored the importance of the proposal in improving the strategic quotient of the bilateral relationship,” said the joint statement following the joint commission meeting between the two countries on August 26.
Also Read: Will Argentina Lead Demand for Indian Tejas Fighter Jets in Latin America?