The Argentine Defense Minister, Jorge Enrique Taiana, is currently in India for bilateral defense cooperation and also met on Tuesday with his Indian counterpart, Rajnath Singh.
The Tejas de India light combat aircraft (LCA) uses the ejection seat of the British company Martin Baker, which Argentina has opposed. “We are willing to modify the LCA according to Argentine requirements,” confirmed a senior source related to the production of Tejas in India.
“But these modifications will have (additional) repercussions on the price of the LCA, which Argentina will bear,” the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Argentine Defense Minister Jorge Enrique Taiana will visit the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) facility in Bengaluru, where LCA fighters and other indigenous helicopters are manufactured for the Indian armed forces.
During the visit to HAL, a letter of intent for the purchase of 20 Prachand (combat) helicopters is likely to be signed between India and Argentina, the source says. “The LCA will have to wait for some time as Argentina has some specific demands, while the (Prachand) helicopters will have priority,” the source said.
During her meeting with her Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh, Tiana discussed ongoing defense cooperation initiatives, including steps to enhance the defense industrial partnership.
After the bilateral meeting, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: “Had in-depth discussions with Argentine Republic Defense Minister Jorge Enrique Taiana on boosting India-Argentina bilateral ties and further consolidating defense cooperation.”
“India-Argentina relations were elevated to the level of strategic partnership in 2019. A Memorandum of Understanding on defense cooperation has also been in place since 2019, while both sides are committed to concluding other instruments to deepen the engagement,” the Indian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement after Tuesday’s meeting.
Although it is going through an economic crisis, Argentina is once again reinforcing its armed forces 40 years after the fateful Falklands War. Although world soccer champion, the defeat at the hands of the United Kingdom in the Falklands War (1982) has haunted Argentina for a long time.
Argentina has wanted to buy fighter jets and helicopters for a couple of years, but the UK has put up obstacles.
After the Falklands War, the United Kingdom totally prohibited the sale of arms and military material to Argentina. It doesn’t even allow other countries to sell military equipment that has spare parts or radars or other British-sourced avionics.
The United Kingdom has managed to convince its allies, such as the United States and South Korea, not to sell their respective fighters to Argentina. That is why Argentina has not been able to acquire even old F-16s from Denmark.
Faced with the impossibility of acquiring military platforms from Western countries, Argentina has begun to look towards Asian giants such as India and China. India for the LCA Tejas and Prachand helicopters, and China (and Pakistan) for the JF-17 aircraft.
In March this year, China announced that Argentina was willing to purchase the JF-17, jointly developed and manufactured with Pakistan.
Last month, a HAL team traveled to Buenos Aires and met with the Argentine Air Force. During the conference, a model of LCA Texas stood at the center of the roundtable.
Apparently, during the conference, Argentina raised the issue of the ACL ejection seat, which is Martin Baker’s. So during HAL’s visit, Indian officials are going to allay Argentina’s fears.
“HAL is likely to replace the Martin Baker seat with one from Russia or some other friendly country,” a source added.