After 8 Years, Defence Delegation Heads To Italy To Reboot Ties

After an eight-year gap, a top defence ministry delegation is headed to Rome next week to revive ties that had taken a debilitating hit following the AgustaWestland chopper scandal and the controversial case of Italian marines shooting dead fishermen off the Kerala coast.

The delegation led by defence secretary Sanjay Mitra will look at areas for military cooperation, including the sale or joint development of arms and equipment over two actionpacked days that include meetings with the Italian defence minister, the head of armaments and three service chiefs. The two sides are expected to exchange notes on mutual requirements and expectations.

However, arms companies have not been included in the joint defence committee meeting. The last time such a meeting took place was in 2010, when the Italians were hosted by India. Sources said among other things, the Indian side is interested in naval systems that Italy specialises in, including a new set of minesweepers for the Indian Navy. At least two previous attempts to procure these critical ships that keep ports and harbours free of enemy mines have failed and the navy has started a fresh search for these vessels. Read More…

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