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Army Chief Gen Naravane speaks to counterparts from Australia, Bangladesh

NEW DELHI (PTI): Army Chief Gen MM Naravane on Wednesday held separate telephonic talks with his counterparts from Australia and Bangladesh on ways to further expand bilateral defence cooperation.

The Army said Gen Naravane's conversation with Chief of Australian Army Lt Gen Richard M Burr was focused on bilateral defence cooperation.

The talks came nearly a month after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton had held a telephonic conversation on boosting bilateral defence cooperation.

During an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in June last year, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support.

"General MM Naravane, #COAS had telephonic interaction with General SM Shafiuddin Ahmed, Chief of Army Staff, Bangladesh Army and discussed aspects of bilateral #Defence cooperation," the Army tweeted.

The talks came a day after Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria concluded a two-day visit to Bangladesh.

There has been a flurry of visits between the two sides in the last six months notwithstanding the coronavirus pandemic.

The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh and the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

In reflection of close ties, India is also hosting a number of events to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1971 war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.

Around 93,000 Pakistani troops had surrendered before the joint forces of the Indian Army and the "Mukti Bahini" on December 16, 1971, that paved way for the birth of Bangladesh.

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