Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Monday held talks with his Malaysian counterpart, Hishamuddin bin Hussein, to explore opportunities to "further deepen" defence cooperation between the countries.

The interaction among the two defence ministers comes at a time when India's indegeniously manufactured light combat aircraft Tejas is in the fray for a Malaysian fighter jet contract, government sources stated.

Chinese intrusion

The Malaysians are going for acquisitions following the recent intrusion of their airspace by Chinese jets. HAL produced Tejas, however, had also participated in an air show in Malaysia in 2019.

"We reaffirmed the strong defence relations between India and Malaysia and discussed opportunities for both countries to further deepen our defence cooperation," Minister Singh tweeted after the video conference with Malaysia’s Senior Defence Minister, Hussein. He said his interaction with Hussein was "wonderful," which echoes India's defence relations with Malaysia, which has acquired some momentum in the last few years.

India is tapping into Kuala Lampur, which is also facing the heat of an aggressive China in the South China Sea and on other issues such as the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL).

Prior to Monday's engagement, external affairs minister S Jaishankar held bilateral talks with his counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN summit, held here for two days from June 16. Abdullah, speaking at the ministerial session of Delhi Dialogue, had said that the group had resolved to strengthen and widen our strategic partnership, including in the Indo-Pacific.