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Not just Tejas and advanced helicopters, mining and lithium too on Argentina’s radar during Fernandez’s Delhi visit

A file photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez (Image courtesy: Twitter/@CasaRosada)

India and Argentina have intensified the ongoing cooperation in strategic sectors between the two countries, particularly in defence, mining and lithium, just ahead of Argentine President Alberto Fernandez’s visit to New Delhi for the 18th G20 Summit of Heads of State and Government, next week.

Building on the recent high-profile bilateral exchanges, Indian Ambassador to Buenos Aires Dinesh Bhatia has held some significant meetings over the past few days, including with Fernandez at Casa Rosada – the seat of the Argentine national government that also houses the president’s office.

On August 24, Argentina was included in the list of six new countries that will join the BRICS grouping which currently includes India, Russia, Brazil, China and South Africa.

Spotlighting that “a new scenario” is opening up for Argentina after the Johannesburg BRICS Summit, Fernandez stated that the country should not waste any instance of integration that serves to boost its growth.

In that context, Argentina sees India as a leader of the Global South that has displayed exceptional will to work on the agenda of the emerging economies, especially during its current Presidency of the Group of Twenty (G20).

At the same time, both countries continue to make tremendous progress in deepening ties and enhancing the ongoing strategic partnership.

Argentina has mentioned that India is interested in electromobility, which firstly covers the development of the necessary minerals, both lithium and copper, and then the incorporation of production chains to advance in the sector.

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Indian Ambassador to Buenos Aires, Dinesh Bhatia with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez at Casa Rosada, earlier this week (Image courtesy: Casa Rosada)

On Wednesday, Ambassador Bhatia met Mercedes Marco del Pont, Argentina’s Secretary of Strategic Affairs to hold some important discussions on the ongoing cooperation in strategic sectors ahead of Fernandez’s trip to India.

Last month, Argentina’s Comision Nacional de Energia Atomica (CNEA) and Combustibles Nucleares Argentinos (CONUAR) received officials from India to hold various collaboration meetings in areas such as nuclear medicine, space alloys, radioisotopes and heavy water, among other.

All this, of course, is besides the strong defence partnership that unites the both countries, especially after the India visit of Argentine Defence Minister Jorge Enrique Taiana in July.

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, Francisco Cafiero, Secretary International Affairs of Argentina’s Ministry of Defence, has been in touch with the Indian Ambassador 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.

During Taiana’s visit, India and Argentina also agreed to the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a training agreement to further consolidate defence partnership between the two countries.

“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,” Taiana said after meeting Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

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Argentine Defence Minister Jorge Taiana and Francisco Cafiero, Secretary International Affairs, Argentine Ministry of Defence, at the headquarters of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bangalore, a few weeks ago

During his India visit, Taiana also 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.

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.

India’s state-of-the-art modern fourth-generation Tejas fighter jet has also been in contention for Buenos Aires’ order of 12 fighter jets.

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.

Earlier this week, the Indian Ambassador also met the chief of Argentine Air Force, Brigadier General Xavier Isaac.

“Discussed further amplification of bilateral engagements between the two strategic partners, particularly Argentine acquisition of Tejas Combat Aircrafts and Helicopters manufactured by HAL,” tweeted the Indian Embassy after the meeting.