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India Seeks Closer Defense Relations, Cooperation with Malaysia

"The collaboration and cooperation between the two countries (Malaysia and India) are highly beneficial since the Malaysian and Indian Armed Forces operate the same military assets, such as the Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and Scorpene submarines," stated the Indian High Commissioner to Malaysia, B.N Reddy, as quoted by the national news agency, BERNAMA.

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) — India seeks to strengthen its defense ties with Malaysia, particularly in the burgeoning defense industry, as both nations’ armed forces operate similar defense assets.

Speaking at a symposium held in Kuala Lumpur today, India’s High Commissioner to Malaysia, B.N Reddy, cited the Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and Scorpene submarines used by both countries’ air and naval forces as examples.

 “The collaboration and cooperation between the two countries (Malaysia and India) are highly beneficial since the Malaysian and Indian Armed Forces operate the same military assets, such as the Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and Scorpene submarines,” he was quoted by the national news agency, BERNAMA.

He further mentioned that currently, Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd has constructed six Scorpene submarines, while India’s aerospace giant, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), has built 280 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets.

Both assets are utilized by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), as well as the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

Su-30MKM
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Su-30MKM

 

The Indian Commissioner to Malaysia stated that it is time for New Delhi-Kuala Lumpur to further strengthen defense relations between the two nations and to encompass the defense industry too.

“In the span of eight to nine years, India’s defense industry has grown rapidly. Previously, the Indian defense industry only produced products for the use of the Indian Armed Forces, but now its capacity and capabilities have expanded, and its products are now being exported,” he said.

Currently, the RMAF operates 18 Su-30MKM fighter jets, while the IAF uses 280 Su-30MKI fighter jets, and the RMN owns two Scorpene submarines compared to the Indian Navy’s six French-made submarines.

A significant portion of the Su-30MKI fighter jets and Scorpene submarines were domestically built by India’s defense industry through collaboration with France and Russia.

Su-30MKI
Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30MKI.

 

The cooperation between Malaysia and India, particularly regarding the spare parts for the Su-30MKM fighter jets used by the RMAF, has become increasingly important due to economic and arms sanctions faced by Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

These sanctions have impacted Malaysia, complicating the procurement of spare parts for its Su-30MKM fighter jets, forcing it to turn to India for these components.

Besides India, there have also been suggestions for the Ministry of Defense to consider China, which also operates a variant of the Su-30 fighter jet.

Kapal selam
Malaysia’s “Scorpene” submarine.
Scorpene
Indian Navy Scorpene submarine

 

Former Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had stated that his ministry would expand the procurement of spare parts for aircraft used by the RMAF from countries that operate the same aircraft, like India.

India is among the largest operators of the Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet, with more than 250 variants of the Su-30MKI, a significant portion of which are manufactured under license by local Indian companies. — DSA

(MORE ARTICLES ON MALAYSIA-INDIA DEFENCE COOPERATION)

 

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