NAVAL FLEET MODERNISATION TO DRDO INVENTIONS: DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT - The Daily Guardian
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NAVAL FLEET MODERNISATION TO DRDO INVENTIONS: DISCUSSION IN PARLIAMENT

The information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to questions asked by Members of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha.

Ashish Singh

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A draft ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy’ (DPEPP) 2020 was placed in public domain by the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence. This draft policy is positioned as Ministry of Defence’s overarching guiding document to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports. It envisions to make India amongst the top countries of the world in the defence sector, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding sectors, from design to production, with active participation of public and private sector. This policy, inter alia, aims to create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.

The new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020 has been released on 30th September, 2020. DAP-2020 is a product of extensive analysis, deliberations, interactions and focused formulations. It aims to further ‘self-reliance’ of the country in the defence sector by promoting indigenisation and bring ‘Ease of Doing Business’ with emphasis on Simplification, Delegation, Reduced Timelines and make the process as Industry friendly. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Dr Banda Prakash in the Rajya Sabha.

MODERNISATION OF THE NAVAL FLEET

Indian Navy remains operationally ready and maintains combat ready platforms with additional forces in readiness at various bases/ports. Indian Navy is always ready to address any eventuality posed by the adversaries in its area of operations. It also diligently follows the Maintenance, Training, Operations and Deployment Cycle ensuring a high state of material as well as combat readiness encompassing all spectrums of maritime operations. Modernisation of Indian Navy is an ongoing process, and is undertaken in accordance with Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan which is reviewed from time to time. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Dr Sabmit Patra in the Rajya Sabha.

PROPOSALS FOR INDIGENOUS DESIGNING AND MANUFACTURING OF DEFENCE SYSTEM

Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP)-2020 envisages the basic tenets of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and encourages indigenous designing and manufacturing of defence items. The proposals for indigenous design and manufacturing are considered under ‘Make’ Procedure of DAP-2020. The ‘Make’ Procedure aims to achieve the objective of self-reliance by involving greater participation of Indian industries including private sector through following mechanisms:

• Make-I (Government Funded): This involves design and development of equipment, systems, major platforms or upgrades thereof by the industry. Ministry provides financial support upto 70% of prototype development cost or maximum Rs. 250 crores per Development Agency (DA).

• Make-II (Industry Funded): This includes design & development and innovative solutions by Indian vendor, for which no Government funding is provided, but it has assurance of procurement on successful prototype development.

As on date, there are 4 ongoing projects under Make-I category. Further, 56 proposals have been accorded ‘Approval in Principal’ under Make-II category out of which 23 proposals have been accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN). In addition, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also undertaken 233 projects during the past three years since 2018. The projects include new defence equipment such as Cruise missile, Hypersonic missile, Anti-Ship missile, Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket, Mounted Gun System, Ammunitions, Electronic Warfare system, Radars, Torpedos, High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicles, etc. AoN has been accorded for 45 DRDO developed systems during last 03 years since 2018 for induction into Services. Further, in order to promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ category under DAP is accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment. Ministry of Defence has notified a ‘Negative List’ of 101 identified items for which there would be an embargo on the import beyond the timeline indicated against them. This is a big step towards self-reliance in defence. This offers a great opportunity to the Indian defence industry to manufacture these items indigenously and develop capabilities to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. This list includes some high technology weapon systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircrafts, light combat helicopters (LCHs), radars, etc, to fulfil the needs of our defence services.

Further, an indigenization portal namely SRIJAN has also been launched in August, 2020 for Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs)/Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)/Services with an industry interface to provide development support to MSMEs/Startups/Industry for import substitution. As on date, 9,370 defence items, which were earlier imported, have been displayed on the portal. The Indian industry has shown interest for 1864 displayed items so far. The items displayed on the SRIJAN portal have well-structured description including specification, images, business volume etc. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Sambhaji Chhatrapati in the Rajya Sabha.

MEASURES TAKEN TO PREVENT LOSS OF FISHERMEN LIVES FROM CYCLONES

Indian Coast Guard initiated the following pre-emptive and proactive measures to prevent loss of fishermen lives and to reduce impact from Cyclone Nivar and Burevi:

• ICG formations were put on high alert and high state of preparedness. Fisheries authorities, State authorities and local administration were warned for precautionary measures.

• Constant liaison had been made with the State administration, various departments and Indian Meteorological Department to ensure wide spread precautionary measures in the affected areas.

• Indian Coast Guard Remote Operating Centres (ROC) and Remote Operating Stations (ROS) passed security/safety messages in local languages on VHF (very high frequency) to all fishing boats to return to harbor or take shelter in nearest port.

• ISN (International Safety Net) was activated in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea by Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs) at Chennai and Mumbai respectively requesting transiting Merchant vessels to advise and warn fishermen to return to harbor/take shelter at nearest fishing harbor and render assistance, if required.

• Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft were deployed in advance for issuance of advisories and warnings in vernacular languages to fishermen at sea for safe return to ports.

• A total of 23 and 33 Coast Guard Disaster Response Teams (DRTs) were kept standby during cyclones Nivar and Burevi respectively.

Due to the preventive and proactive efforts by multiple stakeholders during cyclone Nivar and Burevi, neither any incident/accident nor loss of any life at sea was reported. As per the Disaster Management Act, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) are mandated to deal with all types of disasters; natural or man-made. The Armed Forces are called upon to assist the civil administration when required. ICG form an important part of the Government’s response capacity and are immediate responders in all serious Coastal disaster situations. ICG has prepared Standard Operating Procedures for Disaster Management and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been percolated to all formations and has initiated efforts for capacity building and training of ICG personnel. ICG units maintain close liaison and coordination with all State and District Authorities. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Sanjay Seth and Rajeev Satav in the Rajya Sabha.

NEW SAINIK SCHOOLS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH NGOS/ PRIVATE SCHOOLS/STATES

Government is proposing to bring a new scheme for setting up Sainik Schools in the country in partnership with NGOs/Private Schools/States, etc. The endeavour is to provide schooling opportunities in “CBSE Plus” type of educational environment by involving desirous Government/Private Schools/NGOs to partner in establishing/aligning their system with Sainik Schools ethos, value system and national pride. It envisages enrolling existing/upcoming schools to be run on the lines of Sainik Schools curriculum. The schools are proposed to be affiliated to Sainik Schools Society. Detailed guidelines and requisite approvals are at an advance stage. Following are the details of Sainik Schools set up during last three days:

The details of the number of schools functioning at present in the country, state-wise, are:

FEMALE EMPLOYEES IN DEFENCE SERVICES

The number of female employees in the armed forces is as under:* Excluding Medical and Dental personnel.

In addition to the provision of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in Judge Advocate General and Army Education Corps, the Government of India has recently announced grant of Permanent Commission to Women Officers in all other Arms/ Services in which they are eligible for commission. Further, the Government of India has sanctioned 1700 women in Military Police Corps in a phased manner. The Indian Air Force (IAF) undertakes various induction publicity measures to encourage youth including women to join IAF. Modules like direct contact programme, print and electronic media is extensively used to create awareness about IAF and educate students about various mode of entries. Approval to induct women in the Indian Navy was initially accorded in 1991 for a period of five years in the Education Branch, Logistics & Law Cadre of the Executive Branch. Since then, avenues for employment of Women Officers in the Navy have steadily expanded. Women induction commenced in various Branches/ Cadres/Specialisations viz. Air Traffic Controller (ATC) in 1993, Naval Constructor Cadre in 2001, Observers in 2008, Pilot and Naval Armament Inspectorate (NAI) Cadre in 2017, Sports and Musician Cadres and lateral induction into Provost Specialisation in 2019. The total avenues presently available to Women Officers are 11 in various Branches/Cadres/ Specialisations. Further, consequent to the Supreme Court’s Order dated 17th March, 2020, Women Officers in the Indian Navy are eligible for consideration for grant of Permanent Commission in ten out of eleven avenues open to them. Accordingly, in December 2020, 40 SSC Women Officers have been granted Permanent Commission. This is, in addition to the nine Women Officers who were granted Permanent Commission prior to the Supreme Court’s Order in the Cadres/Branches. This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Saroj Pandey in the Rajya Sabha.

NEW INVENTIONS BY DRDO

During the past 3 years, 79 projects amounting to Rs.8201 Crores directly pertaining to development of new defence equipments i.e. Cruise Missile, Anti-Ship Missile, Surface-to-Air Missile, Air-to-Air Missile, Extended Range Anti-Submarine Rocket, Mounted Gun System, Ammunitions, Electronic Warfare System, Radars, Torpedoes, High Endurance Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, etc. have been undertaken. Some of the DRDO developed systems which are likely to be available to our defence personnel during 2021-23 are as follow:

Many DRDO developed technologies such as Battle Field Surveillance Rader (BFSR), Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC) Jammers, 5.56 mm Rifle, 40 mm Under Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBRL), Oleo Resin (OR) Grenade etc are being utilized by the State Police. Upgrades to some of the systems have been developed by DRDO. Details of the same are as follow:

• Arjun Mk-1A

• Akash-NG

• Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A

• Medium Power Radar-Extended Range

• PINAKA- Extended Range, Guided

• Electronics & Communication System: Unified Mission Computer for SU-30 MKI aircraft, Internal EW System for MIG-29 Upgrade Aircraft, EW systems for Naval platforms.

This information was tabled in a written reply by Minister of Defence for State Shripad Naik to a question asked by Harnath Singh Yadav and Vijay Pal Singh Tomar in the Rajya Sabha.

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Defence

INDIA REPATRIATES YOUTH FROM POK AT TITHWAL CROSSING POINT

Ashish Singh

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On the night of 5th April, a youth inadvertently crossed the line of control into Karnah, Kupwara (J&K). The youth identified as Mausam son of Manzoor Ahmad from Lipa area of Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan was kept by the Indian troops deployed along the line of control for the night with due care & Pakistani authorities were informed of the whereabouts of the child. Based on the interaction between the authorities of both sides on the hotline, the Indian authorities repatriated the youth to the Pakistani authorities from Tithwal crossing point as a humanitarian gesture. The youth was presented clothes and sweets, on return. On the occasion of repatriation, the representatives of civil administration, Karnah were present. The exchange took place at 1150 a.m. Indian standard Time on 7th April. Such inadvertent crossings have taken place earlier also due to close proximity of villages along line of control on either sides. However, the Indian side has always been prompt in returning the individuals keeping the humanitarian issue in mind.

That way Tithwal Crossing Bridge located on Kishanganga river has been acting as a point of peace between the two sides. It would be pertinent to highlight that the site is visited by lots of people from either sides and is emerging as tourist site especially after the recently agreed ceasefire between India and Pakistan. The peace and tranquility as a result of the agreement, is being appreciated by the civil population on either sides of line of control.

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RAJNATH SINGH HOLDS BILATERAL TALKS WITH KAZAKH DEFENCE MINISTER

Discusses ways to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation.

Ashish Singh

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with Defence Minister of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev in New Delhi on Friday. During the meeting, the two Ministers exchanged views to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation, including through training, defence exercises and capacity building. They agreed that both sides must look at the possibility of defence industrial collaboration of mutual interest. The Defence Minister of Kazakhstan thanked Rajnath Singh for the opportunity given to the Kazakh troops for deployment as part of the Indian battalion in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Both Ministers also positively assessed the annual KAZIND Exercise.

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and other senior civil and military officials of Ministry of Defence were also present on the occasion. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India from April 7th to 10th. He visited HQs 12 Corps at Jodhpur and the Longewala sector in Jaisalmer. The Kazakh Defence Minister is in India on the invitation of Rajnath Singh.

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Defence

MADE IN CHINA: NOT IN A BATTLE PLEASE

Ashish Singh

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The recent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno Karabakh is being avidly studied in think tanks and military academies over the world for its unusual lessons and the optimisation of disruptive technologies, particularly the success of Azerbaijan’s drones. However, another set of people are quietly studying the conflict even more closely—the global arms industry. Every conflict spurs arms sales. After the overwhelming and quick success of the US-led forces in Gulf War I, there was a long lineup for the latest weapons used in the war. The Saudis wanted F-15 fighters, Apache helicopters, Abrams M1A1 tanks, AWACS radar planes, Patriot missiles, multiple-launch rocket systems, Seahawk helicopters, and Bradley fighting vehicles. The Egyptians wanted Hawk missiles, M-60 tank upgrades, and F-16 fighters, while the Israelis negotiated for portable battlefield-navigation systems, upgrades for the F-15 fighter and the M-109 artillery piece, and more Patriot missiles. A similar interest in the weapon systems, particularly drones, deployed in this conflict is being shown today in cash-rich capitals of many nations.

However, nobody is taking the next flight to Beijing to close an arms deal, though the Chinese have a reputation for being the cheapest in the market. The reason is evident, but hushed. For all their claims of technological prowess, the Chinese systems have failed to deliver. China commenced with large scale sales of drones to many countries as early as 2011. It was a ‘supply shock’, and countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Algeria obtained them. The prices were unbelievably low—both for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs). However, the performance of these inexpensive platforms leaves a lot to be desired. The export versions are regularly falling out of the sky. Algeria has reported a series of accidents in the last six years with the Chinese-supplied CH-4 UCAVs. The CH-4 is produced by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. It is one of the Rainbow series of aircraft built by the state-owned corporation. In Algeria, repeated crashes of CH-4 were reported near Tindouf, Bir Rogaa and Ain Oussera airbases.

Jordan had to put on sale Chinese-supplied UAVs after they failed on all parameters. After purchasing with much fanfare in 2016, within three years, the Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF) had put its Chinese-made six CH-4B UAVs up for sale in June 2019, indicating disappointment with their performance. The RJAF had acquired them in 2016 along with AR-1 laser-guided missiles and FT-9 guided bombs. In June 2020, a Chinese drone crashed in Cambodia, in Koh Kong province’s Kiri Sakor district. It was a Chinese BZK-005, a high altitude UAV used primarily as a long range reconnaissance aircraft, designed by Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics and Harbin Aircraft Industry Company. Within China, their much hyped ‘Predator’ unmanned helicopter developed by Hangzhou Star Low Altitude Helicopter Development Company and hailed as one of the “trailblazers” in the development of China’s drone industry suddenly dived towards the ground and crashed at air show in Hangzhou in October 2020.

The key Chinese system in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict was the WM-80 Multiple Rocket Launcher (MRL), sold to Armenia in 1999 with great promises of devastating fires and annihilation of enemy forces. The MRL system was developed by Norinco, the China Ordnance Industries Group Corporation Limited, on Chinese designed Type 83 273 mm. It has a modular design, with two launcher boxes each containing four ready-to-launch rocket rounds on a TAS-5380 8×8 truck chassis. It failed to make any impact on the opposing Azerbaijan forces. In short, the Chinese weapon platforms have proved undependable even in mildly contested environments, leave aside wars with dense and unpredictable Air Defence environment.

There are numerous reliability and supplies issues with China. China signs agreements for a certain variant of a weapon platform but delivers a lower version with many changes. Often the buyer has no choice but to accept since the requirements are urgent, as in case of Algeria who purchased the lower variant as their border situation was worsening with Libya, Mali and Niger. Pakistan has similar compulsions, not to mention a worsening economy. China is also known to avoid providing spare parts and after sales service. Reports indicate that instead of adhering to the original contract, Chinese middlemen keep putting forth new options for better platforms, and make sales pitch simultaneously to rival factions and groups, particularly in Africa. Maybe the Chinese will improve their weapon platforms in near future, and offer some quality along with quantity. Even without quality, there would always be some buyers from the cash-strapped regions. However, for anywhere else where ethics and human lives matter, no ‘Made in China’ crashing drones and dysfunctional systems in a battlefield.

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INDIA, MALDIVES CALL FOR GLOBAL COOPERATION AGAINST TERRORISM

First meeting of India-Maldives Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism; the two nations strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms.

Ashish Singh

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The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on counter-terrorism, countering violent extremism and de-radicalisation between India and the Maldives was held in New Delhi on Thursday. The Indian side was led by Secretary (West), Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup, and the Maldivian side was led by Foreign Secretary Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed. The meeting was held in a cordial and constructive atmosphere that symbolises the time-tested and good neighbourly ties between India and the Maldives and the energy, ambition and scale acquired by our bilateral relations under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

India and the Maldives strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations including cross-border terrorism and emphasised the need for strengthening international cooperation to combat terrorism in a comprehensive and sustained manner. Both sides reviewed threats posed by terrorist entities that are under UN sanctions and emphasised the need for concerted action against all terrorist networks.

They underlined the urgent need for all countries to take immediate, sustained, verifiable and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under their control is used for terrorist attacks on others and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks. Referring to the joint statement issued during the state visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Maldives in June 2019, the two sides recognized the critical threats that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation pose to peace and security in the region.

India appreciated the clear-eyed stance taken by the Government of President Solih to counter such threats and the concrete steps taken by the Maldives in this regard. The two sides also exchanged views on various areas of cooperation in the sphere of counter-terrorism including countering radicalization and violent extremism, combating financing of terrorism, preventing exploitation of the internet for terrorism and violent extremism, information sharing, capacity building and establishing institutional linkages between police, security forces, Customs, Immigration and other relevant agencies.

Further, the two sides exchanged views on enhancing bilateral cooperation against narcotics and drug trafficking. The discussions were also informed by the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented to countering terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism.

Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation that will include assistance and capacity building for the security and law enforcement agencies and other relevant agencies of the Maldives as well as collaboration and the exchange of best practices in the areas of counter-terrorism, preventing and countering of violent extremism and de-radicalisation. The two sides also discussed cooperation in multilateral fora. The Maldivian delegation will also visit the training facilities of National Security Guard and the Bureau of Police Research and Development during its stay in New Delhi.

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Indian Army Chief Naravane proceeds on a five-day visit to Bangladesh

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Continuing with the excellent tradition of strong bilateral and defence ties between India and Bangladesh, General M.M. Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) has started a five day visit to Bangladesh from 8th to 12th April. General Naravane’s visit comes in the midst of Swarnim Vijay Varsh celebrations which mark 50 years of the liberation of Bangladesh, made possible by the historic leadership of the Bôngobondhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and heroics of the Mukti Bahini who fought shoulder to shoulder with Indian Armed Forces. 

The Army Chief paid tributes to the martyrs of the Liberation War by laying a wreath at the Shikha Anirban on Thursday. This was followed by one to one meetings with the three Service Chiefs of the Bangladesh’s Armed Forces. General Naravane is also scheduled to visit the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Memorial Museum in Dhanmondi, where he will pay tributes to Bangladesh’s founding father. The COAS will interact with Bangladesh’s Minister of Foreign Affairs on 11th April at Bangladesh Army’s Multipurpose Complex in Dhaka where he will attend a seminar on UN Peace Support Operations and deliver a keynote address on “Changing Nature of Global Conflicts: Role of UN Peacekeepers”

General MM Naravane is also scheduled to interact with the Force Commanders of the United Nations Missions in Mali, South Sudan and Central African Republic and the Deputy Chief Operations Officer of the Royal Bhutanese Army on 12th April. He will also attend the closing ceremony of Exercise Shantir Ogrosena, a multilateral UN-mandated counterterrorism exercise comprising the Armed Forces of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka along with observers from the US, UK, Turkey and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia among others. The Chief will also witness the innovations of the Bangladeshi Armed Forces personnel during the Hardware Display. The Chief of the Army Staff will interact with the members of Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support and Training Operations (BIPSOT) during the last leg of his visit. This visit will further deepen the bilateral relationships between the two Armies and act as a catalyst for closer coordination and cooperation between the two countries on a host of strategic issues.

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Kazakhstan Defence Minister visits India for bilateral talks

Ashish Singh

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Minister of Defence of Republic of Kazakhstan Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev is on an official visit to India from April 7th to 10th. The Kazakh Defence Minister arrived in Jodhpur on Wednesday and is scheduled to travel to Jaisalmer, New Delhi and Agra for meetings and visit to defence establishments. Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev will hold a bilateral meeting with Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi today. This will be the first meeting after Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev was re-appointed as Defence Minister of Kazakhstan. The two Ministers had last met in Moscow on 5th September 2020 on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting. The Kazakh Defence Minister is in India on the invitation of Raksha Mantri.

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