India and Malaysia will set up a Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft forum to exchange information on training, maintenance and technical support for the Su-30 fighter aircraft fleet in each other’s air force.
The launch of the forum was announced during a joint press conference by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Malaysian counterpart in Kuala Lumpur today.
The Indian Prime Minister said, “I am pleased that we have agreed to upgrade our joint exercises and set up the SU-30 Forum.” he said, adding that both sides will do more in terms of level and complexity of exercises and collaboration in training and defence equipment.
It is not yet known if the Su-30 Forum will be open to Russia, the original manufacturer of the Su-30 aircraft. While India uses a customised version of the plane carrying the MKI designation, the Malaysian air force operates a more standardized version of the same aircraft with the MKM designation.
While Malaysia imported the aircraft from Russia, India licence-manufactures a bulk of them at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. India will have imported 272 planes by the end of this year while Malaysia has 18 aircraft.
India could supply spares and provide training and maintenance support to Malaysia. The latter interest in India is due to two countries operating the aircraft in similar weather conditions. For both countries, the Su-30 is their main front-line fighter aircraft.
If the India-Malaysia Su-30 forum gets going, then Malaysia could consider buying an increased number of Su-30 planes.