Malaysia has expressed interest in purchasing fighter jets from India, despite the strained relations between the two countries regarding Kashmir, reports said

Malaysia has expressed interest in India’s Tejas, a multi-role combat aircraft, which is touted as the world's lightest supersonic fighter. The single-engine jet is manufactured by state-run Hindustan Aeronautics. The manufacturer is considering to submit a bid to the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) for 36 aircraft early next year, Nikkei Asian Review reported quoting anonymous sources.

The development comes at a time when the relationship between the countries has deteriorated after Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad supported Pakistan over the Kashmir issue. In his speech at the U.N., Mohamad said that India had "invaded and occupied" Kashmir, a disputed region that both India and Pakistan claim to occupy.

The remarks were slammed by the Indian Government, calling it "unacceptable."

According to one of the sources, Hindustan Aeronautics can only proceed to bid for the Malaysian contract after it gets a nod from the Indian government.

Mahathir Mohamad steps out of a Tejas fighter jet at the Langkawi Aerospace Exhibition

However, according to former deputy director of India's National Security Council Secretariat, Pankaj Jha, the bilateral tensions were only momentary and the frosty relations between the nations would improve in the future.

"Hindustan Aeronautics is trying to [grow] and... also working on developing an international division," Jha said. “Moreover, Mahathir won't be at the helm for more than two or three years, after which India-Malaysia relations will be back on track."

The ongoing tensions between the countries had also affected the Malaysian Palm oil imports by India However ongoing tensions have not prompted the Indian government to stop the trade between the two countries and some traders have resumed importing from the Southeast Asian country.

The Tejas, which was built to replace the ageing MiG-21, is equipped with advanced weaponry and avionics system along with navigation and radar. It is also capable of carrying armaments from different countries, Nikkei Asian Review reported. It is the second supersonic fighter that has been built by Hindustan Aeronautics.

According to local news agencies, the RMAF is looking to upgrade 40% of its fleet. The Tejas was on display in Malaysia during an exhibition in March. At the exhibition, Hindustan Aeronautics Chairman and Managing Director R. Madhavan said that Tejas would be a good upgrade on the current fighter jets that Malaysia had.

According to Jha, India and Malaysia have both have been using Russian jets, and the Tejas was developed by drawing inspiration from these Russian jets, making it a good fit for the RMAF which currently uses Sukhoi and F/A-18 Hornets. It can be integrated with both Russian and western weapons.

Malaysia is also looking into the JF-17 fighter, developed by China and Pakistan, and South Korea's FA-50 along with Tejas.