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New Delhi Correspondent
India and Kazakhstan discussed ways to explore joint defence production during Defence Minister-level talks held during the visit of Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to the central Asian country on Thursday.
Sitharaman, who was on a three-day visit to Astana, capital city of Kazakhstan from October 2, held talks with Kazakh Defence Minister Nurlan Yermekbayev and Kazakh Minister of Defence and Aerospace Industry Beibut Atamkulov. They discussed a wide range of issues relating to defence and military technical cooperation and took stock of the progress that this bilateral relationship has made since the renewal of the MoU on defence cooperation in January 2017.
During the discussion with the Kazakh Minister for Defence and Aerospace Industry, Sitharaman took up the possibilities of joint production and co-production based upon relative strengths and experience of both sides, a statement of the Indian Defence Ministry said.
She also discussed regional developments with the Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov who appreciated India’s position and experience as a major force in UN peace-keeping and contributor to peace-building in various parts of the world under the UN mandate.
India and Kazakhstan defence cooperation includes military-technical cooperation, military education and training and joint military exercises. Over 200 Kazakh defence forces personnel have undergone military training in India till date. Both countries successfully conducted a company level joint military exercise ‘in South Kazakhstan last month. India and Kazakhstan are strategic partners since 2009.
Sitharaman and Yermekbayev presided over the flag-off ceremony of the Kazakhstan contingent that will join the Indian contingent at United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon by October-end. The contingents of both the countries had worked together over the past one year to prepare for this joint deployment.