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June 11, 2015

Sweden offers to collaborate with India for production of LCA


Sweden tonight offered to collaborate with India on production of light combat aircraft in the country as part of the 'Make-in-India' initiative as the two countries decided to scale up bilateral defence ties.

Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist held talks with his counterpart Manohar Parrikar here during which a range of issues were discussed.

India and Sweden exchanged views on "rising scourge of terrorism" and agreed to cooperate in stemming it, Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.

He added that the two sides also discussed issues relating to participation of Swedish firms in defence manufacturing in India under the 'Make-in-India' initiative.

Both sides agreed to continue to explore opportunities for enhancing cooperation between the defence establishments of the two countries in mutually agreed areas, he added.

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

Hultqvist will visit the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Bharat Electronics Limited units in Bengaluru.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had in April said his government was in talks with Swedish defence company 'Saab Group' to set up a production unit in his state.

During his trip to that country, Fadnavis had tweeted a photo of himself in the cockpit of a Gripen and said "it was great to be at the aerospace and defence company Saab at Linkoping, Sweden. Promised a defence manufacturing policy in Maharashtra soon."

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.

India and Sweden had on June 1 signed several agreements to boost ties and decided to restart the bilateral strategic dialogue besides finding ways for investment by the Nordic country in India's defence sector under the ambitious 'Make-in-India' initiative.

 business-standard

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