They agreed to look at the possibility of defence industrial collaboration of mutual interest.

Pointing to the growing strategic partnership between India and the Central Asian Republic of Kazakhstan, the two countries on Friday exchanged views on further strengthening bilateral defence cooperation and agreed to explore the possibility of defence industrial collaboration.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held wide-ranging bilateral talks with Kazakh Defence Minister Lt Gen 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, said a statement by the Ministry of Defence.

They agreed that both sides must look at the possibility of defence industrial collaboration of mutual interest, it added.

The Defence Minister of Kazakhstan thanked 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) Shri Raj Kumar and other senior civil and military officials of Ministry of Defence were also present during the talks.

Lieutenant General Nurlan Yermekbayev, who is on an official visit to India from 7-10 April, visited HQs 12 Corps at Jodhpur and the Longewala sector in Jaisalmer.

This was 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 September 5, 2020 on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting.

In February this year, the Kazakh Air Defence Forces Chief had visited India for bilateral consultations as well as for the Aero India 2021 exhibition held from February 3-5.

Meanwhile, supplementing the robust bilateral relations between the two countries, last month, External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar had met Kazakhstan's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi in Dushanbe, Tajikistan and reviewed bilateral and international cooperation.