India offers to sell 18 Tejas fighter jets to Malaysia
08 August 2022
India has offered to sell 18 light-combat aircraft (LCA) "Tejas" to Malaysia, the defence ministry said on Friday.
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a defence PSU under the ministry of defence had, in October 2021, responded to a Request for Information (RFI) received from Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), Malaysia in February 2019 for LCA class aircraft.
Royal Malaysian Air Force had issued a tender for 18 Fighter Lead In Trainer – Light Combat Aircraft (FLIT–LCA) and HAL offered LCA Tejas twin seater variant.
The defence ministry said that countries such as Argentina, Australia, Egypt, the United States, Indonesia, and the Philippines had also shown interest in the single-engine jet.
"Other countries which have evinced interest in the LCA aircraft are: Argentina, Australia, Egypt, USA, Indonesia, and Philippines," minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt told members of parliament in a written reply.
The government last year gave a $6 billion contract to state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for 83 of the locally produced Tejas jets for delivery starting around 2023 - four decades after it was first approved in 1983.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, keen to reduce India's reliance on foreign defence equipment, has also been making diplomatic efforts to export the jets.
He said the country was also working on manufacturing a stealth fighter jet, but declined to given a timeline citing national security concerns.
India is looking to ground all its Soviet-era Russian fighter jets, the MiG-21, by 2025, following a number of fatal crashes, the Times of India reported last month.