Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Begins First Day of DeExpo 2020 with Meetings

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Lucknow/ New Delhi: It was a busy day on the opening of the five-day DefExpo 2020 in Lucknow for Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who on February 5 held meetings with Defence Ministers of five Countries – UAE, UK, Maldives, Kyrgyzstan and Oman.

In the bilateral meeting with UAE counterpart Mohammed Al Bowardi, Singh exchanged views on further strengthening the cooperation in Defence Affairs. They expressed satisfaction at various dimensions of the ongoing defence cooperation between the two countries. Welcoming the UAE Minister, Singh invited him to explore varied cultural and tourist potential of Uttar Pradesh. The warmth and bonhomie shared between the top leadership of both the countries over the years has resulted in transforming bilateral cooperation to a strategic partnership.

In the delegation level bilateral meeting with UK Minister for Defence procurement James Heappey, Defence Minister underlined the growing ties between the two countries. The discussions while touching on various aspects related to defence cooperation, also focussed on opportunities to further enhance defence engagements between the two countries. They have agreed to meet again tomorrow to continue the parleys.

Singh had bilateral level talks with Uza Mariya Ahmed Didi, Defence Minister of Maldives. The Maldivian minister expressed her country’s gratitude for India’s assistance over the years and recently in bringing back Maldivian students from the Corona virus affected Wuhan region, China.

She underlined the opportunities that exist to further enhance defence cooperation especially in the maritime domain, to which Singh responded positively. Both the Ministers noted that Cooperation in the field of defence industry also forms an important part of strategic partnership between both the countries.

Colonel Erlis Terdikbayev, the Defence Minister Kyrgyzstan discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to defence cooperation between the two countries. In a significant decision, both leaders agreed that the Joint Exercise involving the Special Forces of India and Kyrgyzstan named Khanjar VII shall be held soon in India. It was also decided that the first Joint Working group between the two countries on defence cooperation would be held within the next two to three months.

In his meeting with Badr Saud Harib Al Busaidi, Minister for Defence Affairs, Sultanate of Oman, Singh stressed that defence cooperation was the key pillar of bilateral relations between the two countries. Both Ministers discussed measures to further strengthen defence partnership, by enhancing joint maritime security exercises. Singh expressed willingness of India’s defence industry especially Defence PSUs to work more closely with Oman.

The visiting dignitaries thanked the Minister for the invitation to visit DefExpo 2020 and conveyed their best wishes for the success of the event, which had proved to be an effective platform for sharing, collaborating and cooperating on various defence technologies.

There was also unanimity on further exploring and strengthening bilateral relations with India, in particular in defence domain to expedite Joint projects. Defence Minister wished all the visiting delegates to have a pleasant stay and invited them to visit the various tourist destinations in Uttar Pradesh.

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