The Chilean defence delegation which visited India recently, evinced keen interest in the BrahMos missile system for induction into its navy, even as Chile is expected to invite India to bid for its multi-purpose advance light helicopter project. Also, officers of the National Defence College (NDC)) are likely to visit Chile for the first time under an exchange programme.
Following are excerpts from an exclusive interview with the Chilean defence minister Jaime Ravinet who visited Indian defence establishments recently. What kind of defence cooperation are you looking at with India?
For us, India is an important growing market. While our armed forces are in the process of modernising equipment and materials, India holds the distinction of combining both western and European technology and we want to explore that.
We are also planning to have an exchange programme where for the first time 17 officers from the National Defence College (NDC) will be visiting Santiago next month for a short programme. Have you decided on buying India’s homegrown advanced light helicopter Dhruv?
Chile is evaluating the helicopter and had not firmed up a decision. The twin-engine 13-seater copter was demonstrated for nearly a month last year in all terrains and it had satisfied the operational requirements of Chilean armed forces.
We are planning to modernise our fleet of multi-purpose helicopters in air force and have been impressed by the capability and potential of the machine. We are going to invite India to participate in the international tender later this year. Is Chile going to place orders for BrahMos cruise missile system developed jointly by New Delhi and Moscow?
During Expo Naval last year in Santiago, the Indian delegation displayed the BrahMos cruise missile. We are impressed by the potential of the system and are analysing the requirements of our armed forces. However, only the naval version is ready and,therefore, we are still in the process of learning more about of the system. You visited Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro). Are you looking for joint ventures or tie-ups?
We are exploring the technology assistance from Isro for our micro satellite. And we are also keen to learn more about environment satellites and tapping of natural resources. Are you planning any joint exercises with the Indian Navy?
The Indian Navy has invited us for joint exercises, but we have not yet formalised any schedule. However, we are more keen on technological exchanges about missile systems and torpedoes.