Argentina Defence Minister Jorge Taiana at the headquarters of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bengaluru, last month (Image courtesy: Ministry of Defence, Argentina )
India and Argentina continue to deepen defence ties and enhance the ongoing strategic partnership that unites both countries following the India visit of Argentine Defence Minister Jorge Enrique Taiana, last month.
Earlier this week, Francisco Cafiero, Secretary International Affairs of Argentina’s Ministry of Defence, met Indian Ambassador to Argentina Dinesh Bhatia in Buenos Aires to “plan the work for the coming months” as far as bilateral cooperation agenda in the defence area is concerned.
Cafiero had accompanied Taiana on the July 17-20 India visit during which both countries signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on productive cooperation and acquisition of Light and Medium Utility Helicopters for the Argentine armed forces.
The Indian Embassy in the Argentine capital said that Cafiero and Bhatia discussed “harnessing true potential” of strategic partnership for collaboration and partnerships in defence hardware, technologies and high-tech equipment.
Luego de la visita del ministro @JorgeTaiana a la India, y en el marco de la agenda de cooperación bilateral que tenemos en el área de defensa, me reuní con el embajador indio @dineshbhatia para planificar el trabajo de los próximos meses.
— Francisco Cafiero (@FranCafiero) August 7, 2023
During Taiana’s visit, India and Argentina agreed to the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a training agreement to further consolidate defence partnership between the two countries.
“We are here to perfect and deepen the agreements we have and sign some others. One of them is a Memorandum of Understanding that is richer in content and concrete possibilities than the one currently in force,” said Taiana after meeting Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.
He added: “I think we have a concrete opportunity in the field of Defence, where we can give a quality leap in cooperation between the two countries”.
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, immediately after landing in India, Taiana toured the BrahMos Aerospace facility in New Delhi and met with the Indo-Russian aerospace and defence corporation’s CEO and Managing Director Atul Dinkar Rane.
India’s state-of-the-art modern fourth-generation Tejas fighter jet has also for long been in contention for Buenos Aires’ order of 12 fighter jets.
It is believed that New Delhi is offering a modified variant of the LCA Tejas Mk1A to Argentina with the replacement of parts manufactured in the United Kingdom, thus keeping it way ahead in the race – that also includes major competitors including Pakistan’s JF-17 fighter jets developed jointly with China, South Korea’s FA-50, Russia’s MiG-35 and the US F-16s.
Later, as the Argentine defence delegation travelled to Bengaluru, Taiana signed a LoI with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Chairman and Managing Director C B Ananthakrishnan on productive cooperation and acquisition of Light and Medium Utility Helicopters for the Argentine armed forces.
Argentina, which has been looking at renewal of its helicopter fleet, expressed its interest in incorporating the Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) and the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) model through a productive cooperation project.
HAL already has agreements in place with the Argentine Air Force for the maintenance of the engines of its Lama helicopters and with the Argentine Aircraft Factory (FAdeA) for joint development in the aerospace sector.
IndiaNarrative.com has extensively reported visits of Argentine defence delegations to India and also the series of meetings between the Argentine defence ministry and the HAL – the largest industrial aeronautics company in India and one of the most important in Asia – that began in March 2022.
In June, Taiana received a HAL delegation, accompanied by Ambassador Dinesh Bhatia, which was visiting the country with the objective of promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of defence industry.
The travelling party also held a meeting with the chief of Argentine Air Force, Brigadier General Xavier Isaac and his technical team to evaluate the offer of Tejas combat aircraft.
Likewise, they also met the country’s army chief, Lieutenant General Guillermo Olegario Pereda and personnel from the force to present options for helicopters manufactured in India.
On June 19, the Argentine Aircraft Factory (FAdeA) and HAL signed an agreement on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show with the aim of exploring possibilities in commercialization and joint development of products.
The collaboration, said the Argentine Defence Ministry, represents a valuable opportunity for FAdeA to enter the Indian market and, in turn, access the Asian market in its set and, at the same time, allows HAL to expand in the Latin American market, having FAdeA as its main partner in the region.
Earlier this year, during the Aero India 2023 show, the Argentine Air Force signed a contract with HAL for the maintenance of the engines of its Lama helicopters while another top-level Argentinian delegation led by Lieutenant General Juan Martin Paleo, Joint Chief of Staff of the Argentine Armed Forces, visited the DefExpo 2022 in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar last October.
“Tejas aeroplanes are very much under consideration (by Argentine Air Force)… The talks on procuring Tejas are progressing very much between India and Argentina. This is a complex area… We have signed agreements with HAL on maintenance of helicopters. There is a lot of interest in helicopters and that area is evolving very fast,” Hugo Javier Gobbi, the Ambassador of Argentina to India, told Indian news channel ABP recently.
Gobbi said that Argentina is seeing India as a partner for the development of its military base and as a new source for buying military equipment as it studies many significant projects to boost there cooperation in the defence industry.