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Sweden offers India collaboration on fighters and submarines

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LCA Tejas.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Sweden has offered to collaborate with India on production of light combat aircraft in the country along with state-of-the-art submarines as part of the 'Make-in-India' initiative.

Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist held talks with his counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on Wednesday night during which a range of issues were discussed.

"During the meeting, both sides discussed issues of mutual interests concerning bilateral defence cooperation and regional security scenario," a statement by the Defence Ministry said.

Both sides exchanged views on terrorism and agreed to cooperate in this regard.

"The issue of participation of Swedish firms in defence manufacturing in India under the 'Make-in-India' initiative was also discussed by both sides," the statement added.

They also agreed to continue to explore opportunities for enhancing cooperation between defence establishments of both sides in mutually agreed areas.

Hultqvist, sources said, talked about possible collaboration in manufacturing single engine light combat planes.

He also offered to collaborate with India on the manufacturing of submarines, the sources said.

Ranked the third largest arms exporter per capita after Israel and Russia, Sweden has a booming defence industry.

Hultqvist visited the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) units in Bengaluru.

Swedish company Saab had offered JAS39 Gripen-E light fighter to India when the tender for Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft was announced.

The bid was finally won by French firm Dassault Aviation.

Gripen is said to be a far better version of India's indigenous light combat aircraft Tejas which has been in the making for nearly 30 years.

Parrikar had said that Tejas would be replacement of aging MiG-21s.

DRDO had a few years back sought Saab's help in the Mark II version of Tejas, which will eventually be inducted into the Air Force.

Saab is likely to insist on a government-to-government (G2G) deal if they step into assist India in developing and manufacturing a light fighter.

Tags:

Sweden  India  Defence  SAAB  LCA  MMRCA  Gripen  Make In India  
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