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Opinion

Army chief meets with South Korean high command to strengthen military ties

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Army Chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane began a three-day visit to South Korea on Monday to strengthen military cooperation with the East Asian country, the first by an Indian army chief, the army said in a statement. .

This is Naravane’s fifth visit to a foreign country during the Covid-19 pandemic after Myanmar, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

“During the first visit of an # Indian Army # COAS to the # Republic of Korea, General MM Naravane # COAS interacted with the Minister of National Defense, His Excellency Suh Wook and discussed issues of mutual interest and defense cooperation” the Indian Army tweeted on Monday. .

Naravane also called the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Won In Choul, and discussed ways to expand the bilateral defense relationship. He also met with Defense Procurement Planning Administration (DAPA) Minister Gang Eun Ho and exchanged views on defense cooperation.

He will visit the Korea Combat Training Center in Inje County in Gangwon and the Agency for Defense Development (ADD) in Daejeon.

Also read: MHA extends Covid-19 guidelines until January

The K9 Vajra-T weapons in the army’s inventory represent the collaboration between private sector defense major Larsen & Toubro and Hanwha Techwin (HTW) of South Korea. In April 2017, the two companies signed a $ 720 million contract for the Indian Army’s artillery weapons program. L&T has assembled the weapons at a facility in Talegaon near Pune in Maharashtra. An upgraded version of HTW’s K9 Thunder, the K9 Vajra-T has been designed to meet the requirements of India, including those of its desert formations.

A Korean firm was also pursuing a program to build minesweepers in the country under the Make in India initiative, but the plan has not been successful. Another Korean defense company is studying the possibility of supplying the Biho self-propelled anti-aircraft defense system to the Indian army.

Defense ties between India and South Korea have expanded in recent years due to convergence of strategic interests, mutual trust and high-level exchanges, officials said. The two sides elevated their ties to a special strategic partnership in 2015, a year after they signed an agreement on the protection of classified military information.

During South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s visit to India in 2018, the two sides agreed to explore possibilities to coordinate defense efforts to benefit from each other’s capabilities and experience, and to enhance military exchanges, training, research and development. and cooperation in the defense industry. .

Maritime cooperation has also grown through visits to joint warships exercises. During Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to South Korea last year, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on extending logistical support to each other’s navies.

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