Defence Supplies, Joint Development High on Pallam Raju's 3-Day Visit to Belarus

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 the Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju when he leaves New Delhi on an official visit to Belarus tomorrow. He will hold detailed discussions with the Belarus Defence Minister Colonel-General Leonid Semenovich Maltsev at the delegation-level talks in capital Minsk during the October 24-28 visit.

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 IAF.

The DRDO signed a memorandum with the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus in December last year to set up a Joint R&D Centre at Minsk. While Belarus will provide land for the Centre at the Powder Metallurgy Institute campus, India will bear the construction costs. The detailed project report by DRDO has already been submitted to Belarus and the first joint discussion is due early next year. DRDO has also signed contracts worth $2.6 million with various institutes under the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for joint R&D of technologies in Laser and Powder Metallurgy. Shri Pallam Raju will visit 'Agat', the state scientific research enterprise, on Monday, October 26, 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. 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 an MoU on Defence Cooperation in 1993.

Shri Pallam Raju, leading a four-member delegation, will also call on the Belarus President Mr. Alexander G. Lukashenko on Monday. Shri Pallam Raju is accompanied by Lt. General D. Bharadwaj, Director-General Mechanized Forces, Shri V. Somasundram, Joint Secretary (Ordnance Factories) and Major General (Retired) Ravi Khetrapal, Chairman-and-Managing Director, BDL.

High level contacts have picked up between India and Belarus in the last few years. Only last month Shri SM Krishna became India's first External Affairs Minister to visit Belarus. The Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor visited Minsk in March last year. Belarus Defence Minister Colonel-General Maltsev was in New Delhi in February last year for the DefExpo and earlier visited India in March, 2001.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has grown to over $432 million last year, with exports from India amounting to over $315 million and imports standing at about $117 million.



Partners: Social Network