Following a meeting held in Quito by the defense ministers of Argentina and Ecuador, Arturo Puricelli and Miguel Carvajal, respectively, an agreement was reached to intensify bilateral cooperation in the area of aviation technology. Likewise, the Ecuadorean government’s interest in the projects being developed by the Argentine state-owned high-tech firm INVAP S.A., Argentine state-owned defense manufacturer Fabricaciones Militares, and Complejo Industrial Naval Argentino (CINAR) was made evident.
According to Argentine Defense Ministry sources, the decision in the area of aviation cooperation, was made to accelerate the project to develop a basic training plane, one of the chief regional projects promoted by the South American Defense Council, an UNASUR body, and a visit was scheduled for late May by a delegation from the Ecuadorean Air Force and officials from that country’s Defense Ministry to Fábrica Argentina de Aviones (an Argentine state-owned aircraft manufacturer), to analyze the possible purchase of and learn more about the capabilities of the IA-63 Pampa II advanced training and light attack plane, the assembly-line production of which has already begun.
Forming a Bilateral Working Group
According to the joint statement signed in Quito on May 9, “The ministers agreed to set up a working group on scientific, technological, and production issues, in the framework of the defense cooperation agreement signed by the two countries, with the aim of moving forward on matters of interest and giving concrete form to specific cooperation programs. Likewise, they agreed on a visit by an Ecuadorean Armed Forces delegation to INVAP and Fabricaciones Militares, during the second week of June 2012.”
This progress toward intensifying the bilateral relationship between Argentina and Ecuador, in matters related to industry and technology in the service of defense, comes in the context of regional integration, the political strategy of which is led by UNASUR. The joint statement highlighted “the importance of maintaining the region as an area of peace, as well as keeping the South Atlantic free from weapons of mass destruction and interference from outside the region that might exercise control over strategic resources and navigation.”