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World|opinion & analysis|November 20, 2020 / 01:09 PM
India and Kazakhstan eye to sign defense agreement

AKIPRESS.COM - Regardless of the coronavirus pandemic that has eclipsed the basic functioning of the world, the year 2020 has been a strange one, especially owing to China’s growing belligerence reflected by their expansionist policy coming back to bite them back in the rear, The Eurasian Times reported.

Slowly and steadily, Beijing’s stamp over territories like that of Taiwan, Eastern Ladakh and the highly contested South China Sea region, has seen them bearing the brunt of nations such as the United States, India, Australia and Taiwan and many others.

In another master stroke, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has played his wild card in bolstering India’s defensive partnership with China’s neighbor Kazakhstan, from right under its very nose.

Beijing, which shares a 1,780-kilometer-long border with Central Asia’s biggest state, has enjoyed prosperous relations with Nur-Sultan, owing to the rapid expansion of commerce and partnership over economic development, especially in the harness of Kazakhstan’s oil, natural gas, minerals and other major energy resources.

However, New Delhi has strategically replicated what China did with its neighbor Pakistan in initiating a new chapter in its defense cooperation with Kazakhstan, which will involve both nations delving their resources together in joint production of defense goods.

According to India’s Ministry of Defense – “Indian companies are in talks with Kazakhstan defense industries for co-production and co-development in defense production.” “Both India and Kazakhstan are looking at exploring opportunities that provide win-win solutions to the industries on both sides,”

Recently, two-day India-Kazakhstan Defense Cooperation Expo was held in virtual format. The expo was jointly organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) and the Indian Defense Ministry. Several Indian companies are already in talks with Kazakh defense industries for co-production and co-development.

According to India’s export data, India’s export of military ware has marked a five-fold increase this year. For long India has remained at the periphery by being one of the biggest net importers of defense hardware, however, it has changed its course of action in recent times to become an exporter of the same.

The emergence of India as a key defense exporting country can be attributed to Indian Prime Minister Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, which fosters indigenous capabilities through design & development of required defense equipment by both public and private sector industry in a faster time frame.

“India has come a long way in defense manufacturing. From a very paltry base, the country now manufactures the entire range of equipment for all three wings of the forces. These items range in the best in class artillery guns to battle tanks to bulletproof jackets to combat aircraft and the entire range of ships and submarines, missiles, and everything that is required in maintaining the sovereignty and defense of a nation. India’s aim is not just manufacturing for Indian requirements but also for its allies in need.

Some companies are in an active dialogue stage with the Kazakh establishment. With India’s strengths in software coupled with strengths in hardware manufacturing, India is poised to be one of the major electronics manufacturing hubs in the world,”

Kazakhstan’s Directorate of Defense production also expressed the nation’s interest in cooperation in the field of developing robotized complex and land surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, which is said to enhance Development of Defense Industrial Cooperation and Indo-Kazakh military bilateral cooperation. Both the countries also set to embark on a joint-training & exercises and military-technical cooperation in future.

The strength of Kazakhstan - India bilateral defense cooperation can be gauged from the fact that a total of 246 officers from the Kazakh armed forces have been trained in India till date under defense program.

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