Pallam Raju holds talks with Belarus Defence Minister in Minsk

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Minsk (Belarus), Oct.26 (ANI): During his four-day visit to Belarus Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju held wide ranging talks with Belarus Defence Minister Colonel-General Leonid Semenovich Maltsev in capital Minsk on Sunday.

Both the leaders took stock of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries including military and technical cooperation.

On Monday, Raju was briefed by Major General Petr I. Rogozhevsky, First Deputy Chairman of the State Military and Industrial Committee of Belarus over the ongoing cooperation between India and Belarus.

Rogozhevsky is also the co-Chairman of India-Belarus Joint Commission on Military Technical Cooperation.

Supplies of Defence equipment and spares, refurbishment of missile systems and joint development of military hardware including opto-electronics and gunpowder are high on the agenda of Pallam Raju's visit to Belarus.

India has sought from the erstwhile Soviet Republic supplies of opto-electronics for armament systems for tanks and combat vehicles, upgradation of BMP-2, T-72 and T-90 tanks including Fire Control Systems, Commander Panoramic Sights, Digital Ballistic Computer and missile firing capability.

The Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) is holding talks with M/s Teatradr for technology, equipment and spares for refurbishing the OSA-AK missiles for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

During the October 24-28 visit Pallam Raju will visit 'Agat', the state scientific research enterprise, which has been collaborating with the DRDO for over 15 years and the two institutions are likely to enter into a long-term agreement soon.

Twelve personnel from Belarus have undergone joint training in Defence related programmes in India under the ITEC programme since last year.

India and Belarus have consolidated their Defence ties with the holding of Joint Commission meetings on Military Technical Cooperation (MTC), on the pattern of a similar arrangement with Russia.

Earlier, on arrival at the Minsk International Airport on Sunday, Raju was accorded a ceremonial and traditional welcome by the Belarusian girls by offering bread and later on he was accorded the Guard of Honour at the Belarus Ministry of Defence.

Raju, leading a four-member delegation, also met the Belarus President Alexander G. Lukashenko on Monday.

Pallam Raju is accompanied by Lt. General D. Bharadwaj, Director-General Mechanized Forces, V. Somasundram, Joint Secretary (Ordnance Factories) and Major General (Retired) Ravi Khetrapal, Chairman-and-Managing Director, BDL.

Last December, the DRDO signed a memorandum with the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus to set up a Joint Research and Development Centre at Minsk.

DRDO also signed contracts worth 2.6 million dollars with various institutes under the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for joint R and D of technologies in Laser and Powder Metallurgy.

The first meeting was held in Minsk in May, 2008, followed by the second in New Delhi in May this year. The two countries have had close defence ties since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defence Cooperation in 1993. (ANI)

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