07:40 GMT07 June 2020
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    India would immensely benefit from military cooperation with Belarus as it would ensure transfer of high-end Belarusian technology for upgrading Soviet-era tanks and military equipment.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Belarus has agreed to manufacture defense equipment in India in partnership with the Indian industry. An agreement to this effect was signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko on the last day of the latter's visit to New Delhi.

    "We will encourage joint development and manufacturing in defense sector under the Make in India program. We have also progressed our discussion on utilizing the US$ 100 million line of credit that India had offered in 2015 to specific projects in Belarus," Narendra Modi said after the signing of 10 Memorandum of Understanding with Belarus in New Delhi.

    Prime Minister Modi also said that apart from the defense sector, there were possibilities for partnership between the two countries in the manufacturing of tires, agro-industrial machinery, and mining equipment. However, both the leaders chose not to divulge specific details about joint defense projects.

    In the last few years, Belarus has turned to the Asian market for its defense equipment. The country has its eyes set on major defense deals with India Pakistan, China, and Vietnam. It is particularly interested in India as most of India's defense equipment are of Russian origin and Belarus' defense industry has high level of skills in maintaining and upgrading Soviet-era equipment.

    Meanwhile, the two countries are also exploring the possibility the setting up of a technology demonstration center in India to showcase Belarusian technology. India is linked with Belarus under multi-lateral economic initiatives such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the International North South Transport Corridor. India is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EEU.


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