The Latin American country has shown interest in India's indigenously developed TEJAS fighter aircraft. Meanwhile, the Central banks of the two countries' want to carry out studies to develop a payment mechanism in local currencies

India and Argentina have agreed to firm up ties whilst simultaneously agreeing to increase engagement in defence and trade. The Latin American country has shown interest in India's indigenously developed TEJAS fighter aircraft, manufactured under the 'Make in India' campaign for its Air Force.

"EAM, acknowledging Argentine interest in the Made in India TEJAS fighter aircrafts for Argentine Air Force, highlighted importance of the proposal in enhancing strategic quotient of the bilateral relationship." read the joint press statement released after the Joint Commission Meeting (JCM).

The JCM took place between India's external affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar and Argentina's foreign minister Santiago Cafiero. It is pertinent to note that apart from Argentina, countries such as Australia, Egypt, the USA, Indonesia, and the Philippines have also shown interest in TEJAS aircraft which is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). However, Argentina is the first country in Latin America to show interest in Tejas, which is a single-engine, lightweight supersonic fighter.

Both countries have also agreed to "request the Central Banks to carry out studies for the development of a payment mechanism in local currencies" so that trade between the two countries can transpire without the use of a third currency. This development comes in the backdrop of more and more countries being keen to use local currencies for trade instead of the dollar.

In the past, India has used the Rupee-Rial and Rupee-Rouble mechanism to trade with Iran and Russia. In July, India's central bank RBI issued an order that allowed international trade in rupee, a move that not only benefits Russia but many countries in the neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, Argentina has said that India has expressed its support for the country's membership in an expanded BRICS grouping. This has been part of ongoing discussions between the two foreign ministers, dating back to the bilateral meeting between the two ministers on the sidelines of the Bali G20 Foreign ministers' meet, held earlier this year in July.

Countries like Iran, and Algeria are also keen to become a member of the over-decade-old grouping which has Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

In the joint statement, India reiterated its "support to the resumption of negotiations to find a solution to the sovereignty issue relating to the Question of the Malvinas Islands" in accordance with the "Resolutions of the UNGA and the Special Committee on Decolonization".

While Argentina calls it Malvinas Islands, the UK calls it Falkland island, and both fought over it in the early 1980s. Argentina has also extended support to India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the country's upcoming G20 Presidency.

The External Affairs minister was on a visit to South America, during which he visited Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. While in Brazil and Argentina, EAM co-chaired the Joint Commission Meetings (JCM) with his counterparts, in Paraguay he inaugurated the premises of the newly opened Indian Embassy which started functioning in January 2022. This was EAM’s first visit to the South American region in the current capacity.