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India Offers to Sell 18 Fighter Jets to Malaysia, Says 6 Other Nations Interested

Sputnik News

Pawan Atrii

Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, India has sharpened its focus on exporting defense equipment. According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the South Asian nation's defense exports have seen a six-fold jump in the last five years - from $191 million in 2017 to $1.06 billion in 2021.

India is bidding to export 18 light-combat aircraft (LCA) "Tejas" to Malaysia, the country's junior defense minister Ajay Bhatt confirmed in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the nation's Parliament on Friday.

Six other nations namely Argentina, Australia, Egypt, the United States, Indonesia, and the Philippines have also shown interest in buying the aircraft from India.

"Other countries which have evinced interest in the LCA aircraft are: Argentina, Australia, Egypt, USA, Indonesia, and Philippines," Bhatt said in his written response to the members of parliament.

According to the minister, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd replied to a request for proposal from Malaysia's Air Force for eighteen fighter planes and gave them an offer to purchase the two-seater version of Tejas.

If the Royal Malaysian Air Force agrees to buy the Tejas after a long-drawn process that would include extensive flight evaluation trials, it would be a second major defense deal signed by an Indian company.

In January of this year, the country's BrahMos Aerospace signed a $375 million deal with the Philippines for three units of the BrahMos anti-ship missile system.

Last year, New Delhi inked a $6 billion contract with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the state-owned defense major to produce 83 Tejas jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The delivery of the planes to the IAF will begin in March 2024 with 16 aircraft to be delivered to the force every year.

India's current fleet of fighter jets includes the MiGs and Sukhois from Russia, the Mirage and Rafales from France, and Advanced Hawk trainer aircraft from Britain.

The South Asian giant is on the verge of grounding its fleet of Soviet-era planes, the MiG-21, in the next three years, media outlets The Indian Express and The Times of India reported last month.

© Sputnik

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