Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia and India are to step up defence cooperation particularly in military training and maintenance of the Russian-made fighter jets recently acquired by Malaysia.
Under the programme, India would provide training to 55 military personnel — 15 officers and 40 technicians — who are currently in that country for a three-month stint till March, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said Monday.
The second phase of the training programme would involve 47 officers and technicians from March till June, he told a joint press conference with visiting Indian Defence Minister A.K. Anthony.
Earlier, Anthony, accompanied by nine senior ministry and military officers, met Najib, who is also Defence Minister, for talks on Malaysia-India defence issues.
Kuala Lumpur and New Delhi agreed to bilateral collaborations in defence training when Najib visited India in June 2006.
Najib said following the signing of a protocol between the Malaysian and Indian defence ministries at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in December 2007, the Indian government and the Indian Air Force agreed to send a team to the airforce base in Gong Kedak in Terengganu to train Sukhoi pilots and technicians.
He said the team — seven officers, four pilots, two engineering officers, a weapon sensor officer and 24 other ranks would arrive middle of next month.
They will be stationed at the airbase for two years, he said.
Malaysia bought 18 Sukhoi jet fighters for RM3.42 billion (US$ 1.042 billion) from Russia in 2003, with the first two jets delivered in May last year, and the rest in stages by June this year.