Colombia wants to strengthen cooperation for monitoring its common border. It also wants to establish partnerships with Brazil in defense research and technology, and also wants to participate in the program to develop the Embraer KC-390 military transport aircraft.
“Brazil is our strategic partner and we want to establish closer links and cooperation,” Saints said.
Saints and his delegation, comprising the commanders of the three Colombian armed forces, heard Jobim present Brazil’s new National Defense Strategy, launched in December 2008. The minister-head of the Secretariat of Strategical Subjects, Mangabeira Unger, complemented the communication. The National Strategy of Defense, according to Jobim, has as objective to reorganize the Armed Forces, to strengthen the national defense industrial base, and to improve military service.
“These three objectives are interlinked. It is not possible to think of the Armed Forces that are not tied to development, or of development that is not linked to the Armed Forces”, said Jobim. Nelson Jobim also said that the visit by his Colombian counterpart will provide advances in some areas of bilateral cooperation…..such as improving control of the airspace between the two countries, along a 50-kilometer band on both the sides of the border.
Juan Manoel Saints said that all the countries in the region must find alliances in strategic areas as, for example, in the military industry and for professional qualification. He cited the cases of the Super Tucano aircraft bought by Colombia from the Brazilian company Embraer, saying “we are very happy with Brazilian aircraft.”
The Colombian minister did not exclude the possibility of establishing, within the framework of these bilateral relations, a strategic alliance of the two countries’ defense industries.
In this perspective, Juan Manoel Saints said, one idea is to see how Colombia can participate in the production of the Embraer transport aircraft that Brazil intends to develop. “Anything that we can do in this respect with Brazil will be very positive, as the airplanes that we have bought from Brazil are very good,” he said.
Juan Manoel Saints said that, for Colombia, the relation with Brazil is of strategic convenience over the long term. “Therefore, everything that we can do to develop and reinforce this relationship is a very important decision,” he added.
According to Saints, bilateral cooperation could also include control of airspace, joint satellite programs, and border monitoring.