India seeks closer cooperation with Malaysia in defence industry sector

KUALA LUMPUR: India is seeking to enhance its bilateral relationship with Malaysia through collaborations in the defence sector, says Indian High Commissioner to the country B.N. Reddy.

He said the time was ripe for both countries to further cement their defence ties spanning four decades, including the inking of the Malaysia-India Defence Cooperation in 1993.

Previously, defence cooperation and engagements between two friendly countries only revolved among the three branches of the Army, Navy and Air Force but now New Delhi is looking to engage its Malaysian counterpart in the defence industry sector, he said.

"In the past eight to nine years, India's defence industry sector has grown significantly. Before this, our defence industry only produces defence equipment for the Indian Armed Forces but now we have developed those capacities and capabilities where are in a position to export (defence products) to other countries,” he said.

Reddy said this at the sidelines of the India-Malaysia Defence Industrial Cooperation: Mini Defence Expo Cum Defence Industry Symposium here on Thursday (Feb 22), which was also attended by Defence Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Isham Ishak.

Reddy said such collaborations would be beneficial since the Malaysian and Indian Armed Forces operate similar military assets such as the Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) and the French-built diesel-electric Scorpene submarine.

According to him, India’s Mazagon Dock Shipbuilder Limited has built six Scorpene submarines so far while its aerospace giant Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has built 280 Sukhoi fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF) under an arrangement with their Russian counterparts.

Meanwhile Isham in his speech said Malaysia was open to collaborating with India involving cybersecurity and in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhoul (MRO) sector, especially involving the Scorpene submarine and Sukhoi Su-30 MRCA.

"These are two areas where we understand that India has the expertise and you also manufacture the parts for the Scorpene (submarine), these are areas where I think we could further collaborate, since in my last five months in the Ministry of Defence my number one priority is to ensure that our equipment (assets) are always ready for action,” he said.- Bernama

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