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French Defence Firms Welcome (30 May 2003)

Malaysia will invite French defence firms to establish defence hardware factories locally in order to strengthen defence relations. The move will encourage efforts in technology transfer and will also ensure that the military's arsenal is up to date.

One example is DRB-Hicom partnering with Giat, a defence equipment-manufacturing firm, to manufacture a 155mm mobile artillery system. The partnership will start operations once the orders are confirmed.

Besides inviting French defence firms, another tactic used will be to send officers to undergo training in France. The training will include courses on handling the advanced military equipment and also maintaining the assets of the armed forces.

At present, 17 officers are in France attending courses and an additional 150 will be chosen to go through a four-year training stint in stages.