The two sides are also likely to discuss India’s proposal for the sale of indigenously developed Akash and Akash NG air defence systems to Egypt

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to meet Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, during his visit to Cairo next weekend, New Delhi is keen to advance talks on exporting the TEJAS Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India to the Arab Republic.

The two sides are also likely to discuss India’s proposal for the sale of indigenously developed Akash and Akash NG air defence systems to Egypt.

Modi will fly to Cairo from Washington DC after completing his state visit to the United States. He will have a meeting with Sisi, who visited New Delhi early this year when he attended the Republic Day ceremony as the chief guest on January 26.

The Modi-Sisi meeting in Cairo could see the two sides making progress in talks over the defence platforms India offered to Egypt.

Cairo conveyed to New Delhi its interest in procuring at least 20 TEJAS manufactured by the HAL headquartered in Bengaluru. The Sisi Government also asked India to explore the possibility of setting up a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility for the TEJASs. India also offered TEJAS trainers to Egypt.

India had earlier offered 70 TEJAS fighters to Egypt with a manufacturing facility in the Arab Republic.

Cairo is also weighing other options for the Egyptian Air Force, including the T-50 fighter jets of Korea. New Delhi, however, expects that the Modi-Sisi meeting might add new momentum to talks over the proposed deal.

The source said that New Delhi had also offered Egypt the Akash and Akash NG – the medium-range surface-to-air missiles indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by the Bharat Dynamics Limited of India.

India and Egypt had last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding to step up defence cooperation. The Indian Air Force (IAF) had also sent three Su-30MKI aircraft, two C-17 aircraft and 57 personnel to participate in Tactical Leadership Programme at Egyptian Air Force (EAF) Weapon School in Cairo West Airbase last year. Earlier, the IAF and the EAF had a joint tactical air exercise in Egypt in October 2021. They also had a joint training in an airbase in Egypt last month.

When Modi and Sisi met in New Delhi on January 25, they agreed to deepen cooperation between the defence industries of the two countries and explore new initiatives to intensify military-to-military engagements. They agreed to further enhance and deepen defence cooperation in all fields, especially by exchanging technology between defence industries, widening the footprint of military exercises, and exchanging best practices.

A joint statement issued after the meeting between Modi and Sisi emphasized the need for co-production in the defence sector.