Self-sufficiency, particularly in the defense manufacturing industry, has become a trend in light of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war that broke out earlier this year, and among the nations stepping up their game are India and South Korea. Both countries are well-rounded Asian economic players that have not only remarkably grown in the last decade but also have advanced in terms of embarking on technology design and development.
New Delhi and Seoul have successfully advanced their respective domestic defense manufacturing capabilities, achieving self-sufficiency while positioning themselves as rookie bidders in the global export market—the latest being the bid for the Malaysian Light Attack Fighter contract. Both countries had submitted their entries for the multi-billion-ringgit deal along with China, Italy, Turkey, and Russia.
South Korea has a slight advantage over India in the production of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), thanks to the success of its indigenous FA-50 LCA in snatching international contracts since the mid-to-late 2000s, whereas the latter, a new player with the introduction of its Tejas LCA in the global market in the early 2020s.
Another arms deal these Asian giants might potentially be contending against is the exportation of their respective Light Armed Helicopters (LAHs), starting with South Korea’s LAH. According to Yonhap News Agency, Seoul recently “approved a 5.75 trillion-won (US$4.3 billion) plan” to fund its domestically-made LAH’s mass production in the coming months until 2031 “as part of efforts to replace the military’s aging fleet of 500MD and AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters.”