INTERVIEW | Spanish Defence Minister
On a second visit to India in less than three years time, Pedro Morenes, Spanish Defence Minister, is on a mission to strengthen defence relations between the two countries. In a brief interaction with SP’s Aviation, Morenes has underscored the capabilities of the two countries and how mutual exchange would benefit both.
SP’s Aviation (SP’s): What is the key constituent to enrich the defence relations between the two countries?
Pedro Morenes (Morenes): We share common objectives, particularly when it comes to dealing with terrorism. The threat of terrorism is real and is affecting the world. We look forward to sharing key issues, creating confidence and trust and sharing intelligence to fight the menace of terrorism. With geopolitical issues affecting the two nations, we should constitute a joint group comprising key officers and train them with this objective. The relations between military personnel last longer and we can leverage that. It will be important to share military knowledge as we have similar threats. India has a vast mountain range and it has built good capabilities and Spain has also similar capabilities. We can jointly work on that.
India has important programmes in the domain of maritime and arms and Spain can help with its industry and enter into knowledge cooperation, as per requirements of the Indian Government. It can be covered under the government to government umbrella. The Indian Government has a guarantee of the Spanish Government, that’s the general scheme.
SP’s: Compared to your last visit, how do you find the business environment under the new government?
Morenes: It is a new frontier and I see new enthusiasm. The idea is to do something constructive, development is really important. There is a lot of visible enthusiasm with the new government. The ‘Make in India’ initiative is welcome and we are keen on contributing to this strategic plan. We are familiar with this concept as we have had the same view not very long ago. We have a rich culture to share too. Overall India is a lively country.
SP’s: Do you foresee any joint developments with India?
Morenes: We are running a joint programme with the Navy. The shipyards’ military needs fit well with our capabilities. We can have common development for India and programmes can be adapted as per India’s needs in the field of military, cyber and outer space.
Then there are high-technologies with dual use capabilities that can cover many needs in aircraft and radar and communication. We have good examples of cooperation – Navantia with L&T. We have the C295 programme and the platform can be manufactured here. We feel that government to government is the best way of furthering relationship and defence agreements being sensitive, they are better protected with government to government interactions. We believe in India as partners for the present and the future.