On External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar’s visit to Argentina, the minister acknowledged the South American nation’s interest in the indigenous LCA (light combat aircraft) Tejas for induction into the Argentine Airforce.
While in Argentina, Jaishankar met with Santiago Cafiero, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade, and Worship, and reaffirmed the two nations’ cooperation in several fields.
“Expressing satisfaction at the close cooperation between the two countries at the multilateral fora, both ministers agreed to closely cooperate in the United Nations and other multilateral organisations to address global challenges of terrorism, security, international and regional peace, climate change, biodiversity loss, equitable trade and sustainable development,” the statement said.
“Both sides agreed to promote the exchange of visits between armed forces, defence training and collaboration for joint production of defence-related equipment,” the statement added.
“Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism, is completely unacceptable to the international community and must be combatted resolutely,” they said.
The Argentine Air force has a modest 40 fighter jets with the likes of IA 63 Pampa and the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. Both are small, lack firepower and cannot reach supersonic speeds.
Buenos Aires is looking to procure new aircraft with 4th or 4.5 generation capabilities that can perform multirole functions.
Pakistan and China have pitched their JF-17 Thunder while India has offered the LCA. Both aircraft fulfil the Air force’s requirements. In the last few years, Argentina has cut its defence expenditure due to its poor economic performance and is not looking for a large order of these aircraft.
Latin America is a relatively peaceful region in the world as all nations have great relations with one another. This has led to less defence expenditure and no little to no focus on military building.
Recently another country in the region, Colombia has shown interest in the LCA Tejas to replace its Israeli-made KFIR fighters which are over 3 decade old.