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Nigeria, Philippines, Argentina showing interest in procuring Tejas jets: HAL Chief


India's indigenously developed light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas. (Photo: IAF)

NEW DELHI (PTI): Nigeria, Philippines, Argentina and Egypt have shown interest in procuring indigenously-developed Tejas Light Combat aircraft, CB Ananthakrishnan, the Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), said on Thursday.

Ananthakrishnan said talks are on with these countries for the possible procurement.

"Nigeria, Philippines and Egypt are keen to procure Tejas Light Combat aircraft," Ananthakrishnan told PTI on the sidelines of an event.

On how India will proceed with the supply of the Tejas jets to Argentina if the procurement fructifies as the aircraft has some components sourced from the United Kingdom, the Chairman and Managing Director of HAL said a way would be found out in such a scenario.

After the 1982 Falklands War, the UK imposed an embargo on military sales to Argentina and especially prevented supply of hardware manufactured by it.

In view of the British restrictions, it is perceived that supply of military hardware comprising components sourced from the UK may not be easy for India.

In July, the Argentine Defence Minister visited India with a focus on enhancing defence-industrial partnership.

The HAL had inked an agreement with the Argentinian Air Force to provide spares and services for its two-tonne class helicopters.

Defence ties between India and the Philippines have been on an upswing in the last few years. In January 2022, the Philippines concluded a deal with India for the procurement of three batteries of supersonic BRAHMOS cruise missile system.

The Tejas is a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft capable of operating in high-threat air environments. It has been designed to undertake air defence, maritime reconnaissance and strike roles.

Tejas aircraft are set to be the mainstay of Indian Air Force (IAF). It has already inducted nearly 40 initial variants of Tejas.

In February 2021, the Defence Ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF.

Last month, the Ministry accorded an initial approval to procure an additional batch of 97 Tejas jets for the IAF.

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