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South Korea keen to enter Indian defence market

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Defexpo 2012. A Brahmand photo

NEW DELHI (BNS): South Korea, which has expressed keen interest to forge a partnership with the Indian defence sector, is promoting a range of its land, naval and avionics systems at the ongoing Defexpo 2012 in New Delhi.

Though represented by only three defence companies at the international exhibition, South Korea has set its eyes on the ever-growing Indian defence market.

Korean firm LIG Nex1 Co., which has offered its portable surface-to-air missile system 'Chiron' to the Indian Army, says that localised manufacturing of the weapon, as emphasied by the Indian Government, would be its mission to clinch the deal.

"We have submitted the request for proposal (RFP) to the (Indian) Govt in 2011 and now waiting for the field trials."

"India wants to have local manufacturing, total technology transfer and technology design. Our mission is to localise our products and not just export," Kim Min Su, Director of LIG Nex1's India office told Brahmand.

When asked about partnering with any Indian defence firm to produce the weapon locally, the official said that his company and some production agencies are in talks with the Indian Defence Ministry in this regard.

The very short range anti-aircraft missile 'Chiron' has been operational in the South Korean Army since 2005 under the name Shin-gung, meaning "God's Bow".

The man-portable air-defence system (MANPAD) is capable of hitting targets as high as 3.5 kilometers with a speed of Mach 2.0 and a distance of 7 km. The missile weighs around 15 kg and takes only a few seconds for launch preparation. It carried a warhead of 2.5 kg.

The portable missile is designed to take on hostile aircraft, helicopters and UAVs.

Besides the Chiron, LIG Nex 1is also promoting its Raybolt medium-range infantry missile and mid-range surface-to-air missile for the land forces.

"We are also planning to offer our underwater weapon systems like submarine-launched torpedoes and submarine-launched sea mines to India," Kim Min Su said.

During a recent visit by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Seoul, the two countries have agreed to strengthen their bilateral relations in several areas, including defence and space.

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