Pallam Raju holds talks with Belarus Defence Minister

The Minister of State for Defence Shri MM Pallam Raju, on a four-day visit to Belarus, held wide ranging talks with the Belarus Defence Minister Colonel-General Leonid Semenovich Maltsev in capital Minsk on Sunday, October 25. Both the sides took stock of the excellent bilateral cooperation between the two countries including military and technical cooperation. Shri Pallam Raju was briefed on the ongoing cooperation by Major General Petr I. Rogozhevsky, First Deputy Chairman of the State Military and Industrial Committee of Belarus on Monday, October 26. Major General Rogozhevsky is also the co-Chairman of India-Belarus Joint Commission on Military Technical Cooperation.

On his arrival at the Minsk International Airport on Sunday, Shri Pallam Raju was given a traditional welcome by the Belarusian girls by offering bread. He was later accorded a Guard of Honour at the Belarus Ministry of Defence. Shri Pallam Raju, leading a four-member delegation, will also call on the Belarus President Mr. Alexander G. Lukashenko later 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.

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 Shri Pallam Raju's four-day 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 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. 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. During the October 24-28 visit Shri 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. 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.



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