Bengaluru: Swedish defence minister visits HAL

Bengaluru: Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist visited the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) complex here on Thursday, and was briefed about its activities, an official statement said.

“Hultqvist visited the production facility of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas and flight hangars of the Advanced Light Helicopter (ALJ) Dhruv,” HAL said in a statement here.

Hultqvist, who is on a four-day official visit to the country from Tueday, was briefed about the various activities of the aerospace firm by its human resource director V.M. Chamola and other officials.

His visit follows President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Sweden when the two sides concluded 24 MoUs for cooperation in various fields.

In a meeting with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on Wednesday, they discussed issues of mutual interests concerning bilateral military cooperation and regional security scenario, an official statement said.

Both sides exchanged views on the “rising scourge of terrorism and agreed to cooperate in this regard”.

The two ministers agreed to continue to explore opportunities for enhancing cooperation between the defence establishments of both sides “in mutually agreed areas”.

Sweden is looking forward to participate in the NDA government’s ‘Made in India’ programme, though its aerospace firm Gripen’s fighter Saab lost out to Rafael in the acquisition of the medium multirole combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

With the Modi government allowing up to 49 percent investment in the defence sector by overseas firms, Sweden is keen on setting up joint production facility with an Indian partner.

It is also looking beyond aircraft to hardsell military hardware, including warships and submarines to the Indian navy.

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