Eyeing the potential market of South-East Asia, India’s state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) expands its presence in Malaysia.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) regional office in Kuala Lumpur, facilitating closer defence industrial collaborations between India and Malaysia.
According to the defence ministry, the regional marketing office of HAL in Kuala Lumpur will also serve as a hub for engagements with the wider South-East Asian region. It will act as a window for other Indian defence PSUs as well.
Defence Minister’s 3-day Visit to Malaysia
Rajnath Singh was on a 3-day visit to Malaysia, where on Monday he met Malaysia’s top leadership including Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to discuss a wide range of issues to strengthen bilateral defence and strategic ties. This is the first bilateral visit to Malaysia after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the establishment of the Enhanced Strategic Partnership during his visit in 2015.
The Defence Minister met his Malaysian counterpart, Mohamad Hasan, and had discussions on initiatives to further expand bilateral defence ties, focusing on ways to strengthen industrial cooperation.
Both countries on Monday agreed to amend a Memorandum of Understanding MoU signed in 1993 by signing an Exchange of Letters (EoL) to expand bilateral defence cooperation in the area of mutual interests.
The joint press statement said that this will facilitate more bilateral activities between all three military services in the future. The statement also said that both defence ministers have reaffirmed their commitment to implement the Enhanced Strategic Partnership. The two ministers agreed to the next Malaysia-India defence cooperation committee (MIDCOM) meeting which is being planned in India later this year.
Singh also had a “fruitful meeting” with the foreign minister of Malaysia Zambry Abdul Kadir exchanging views on bilateral importance and cooperation in international fora.
Later at an event, Singh facilitated a 99-year-old Indian National Army veteran who fought alongside Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose at the Burma border. He also unveiled a bust of Bose.
Rajnath Singh interacted with Indian Diaspora in the events acknowledging their role in the growth of India. Malaysia is home to the second-largest number of Persons of Indian origin and has a significant NRI presence. He visited the Ramakrishna Mission in Petaling Jaya to offer tribute to the statute of Swami Vivekanand. This statue was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his 2015 visit. The Minister visited the iconic Batu Cave temple as well, which is a symbol of friendship between the two countries.
On the inauguration of the HAL regional office in Kuala Lumpur, the Defence Minister said, in a tweet, that as the first overseas office of HAL, it symbolizes the potential for closer defence industrial collaboration between India and Malaysia and also, the South East Asian Region.
HAL Regional Office – Hub to Serve South-East Asian Market
One of the important reasons to open the HAL office is to provide Maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the Su-30 fleet of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF). HAL is one of the largest producers of Su-30s and it was looking forward to supplying spare parts to RMAF. Malaysia has also shown interest in the acquisition of Tejas fighters jets which are manufactured by HAL.
HAL office in Kuala Lumpur will make it easier to cater to other markets in South-East Asia. Reports say that HAL is in talks with a few more countries in the region who have shown interest in the Tejas. The countries are also interested in helicopters as well as Light Combat Helicopters.
HAL is in talks with the Philippines for the sale of six indigenous Advance Light Helicopters. The country has already signed a contract with India for the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.