India, Sweden sign security pact to share classified information
India and Sweden have concluded a security protection agreement that will enable both countries to share classified information with each other, the Swedish embassy in New Delhi said on Thursday.Updated: Feb 14, 2019 23:20 IST
India and Sweden have concluded a security protection agreement that will enable both countries to share classified information with each other, the Swedish embassy in New Delhi said on Thursday.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist signed the pact in Stockholm on Wednesday, at a time when the Scandinavian country is eyeing projects worth billions of dollars under the “Make in India” initiative.
Swedish defence firm Saab is pursuing opportunities to build fighter jets and next-generation submarines in the country under the government’s strategic partnership (SP) model that seeks to provide impetus to the ‘Make in India’ programme.
Saab India Technologies chairman Ola Rignell on Thursday said the company was eyeing several projects in India, including plans to build 114 fighter planes and six next-generation submarines locally. Both the projects fall under the SP model.
The strategic partnership (SP) model envisages local manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian strategic partner who will collaborate with a foreign original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to set up production facilities in the country.
On January 31, the defence ministry approved Project 75I worth Rs 40,000 crore for building six advanced submarines in the country. The SP model covers submarines, fighter planes, helicopters and armoured vehicles.
The ministry is yet to clear “platform-specific” guidelines for 114 fighters under the model. Saab is offering its Gripen E fighter for this competition. Six countrieswill offer seven fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF) contest.
The manufacturers have responded to an IAF request for information (RFI) with operational features and technical parameters of their platforms.
The IAF wants the project to be accelerated as the count of its fighter squadrons has shrunk to 31 compared to an optimum strength of 42-plus units required to fight a two-front war with China and Pakistan.
Saab is also competing with global rivals to supply 57 multi-role carrier-borne fighters (MRCBF) to the Indian Navy. French, Russian and American military contractors are also eyeing the order.
First Published: Feb 14, 2019 23:20 IST