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Australian Army Chief visits Pokhran firing ranges, Laungewala war memorial

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Australian Army Chief Lt Gen Rick Burr on Thursday visited the Pokhran firing ranges and the Laungewala war memorial in Rajasthan as part of his tour of key military installations.

Lt Gen Burr is on a visit to India from March 8 to 11.

"The Australian Army Chief visited Laungewala, Pokharan and Jodhpur in Rajasthan," the Army said.

On his arrival at Laungewala, Lt Gen Burr was received by Lt Gen Rakesh Kapoor, GOC, Desert Corps after which he paid homage to India's fallen heroes in the Indo-Pak war 1971, it said.

"Lt Gen Burr also visited the Pokharan field firing ranges where he witnessed a demonstration of indigenised weapons platforms executing operational manoeuvres in a combined arms firing exercise involving armour, artillery, infantry and aviation assets," the Army said in a statement.

"The visiting General complimented the robustness of the Indian soldier and his ability to operate in varied terrain and difficult conditions, across various spectrums of engagement," it said.

Lt Gen Burr and Army Chief Gen MM Naravane on Wednesday held wide-ranging talks in Delhi on ways to further deepen bilateral military cooperation besides pressing global issues.

The defence and security ties between India and Australia have been on an upswing.

In June 2020, 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.

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

The Australian Navy was part of the Malabar naval exercise hosted by India in November 2020 as well as last year.

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