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Indian Navy Chief holds talks with Bangladeshi counterpart

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh on Monday held wide-ranging talks with his Bangladeshi counterpart Admiral M Shaheen Iqbal and explored ways to further expand bilateral naval cooperation to deal with emerging challenges in the maritime domain, people familiar with the development said.

Admiral Iqbal is on a week-long visit to India from October 23.

The people cited above said the two top naval commanders also deliberated on the fast-evolving regional security scenario in the backdrop of the Taliban's capture of power in Afghanistan.

"Ways to deal with emerging challenges in the maritime domain figured prominently in the talks," said one of the people cited above.

Admiral Singh and Admiral Iqbal also deliberated on issues relating to joint cooperative efforts like coordinated patrol along the international maritime boundary, bilateral exercise 'Bonosagar' and the conduct of naval training among others.

On completion of his engagements in Delhi, Admiral Iqbal is scheduled to visit Mumbai, where he will meet with Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Naval Command, the Indian Navy said in a release.

He will also visit Defence Services Staff College in Wellington to witness training activities.

The Bangladesh Navy is an active member of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a forum for maritime cooperation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region.

There has been increasing cooperation between Indian and Bangladeshi navies and they regularly engage through staff talks, annual defence dialogue and other operational interactions.

A Bangladeshi naval ship visited Visakhapatnam three weeks back as part of commemorative programmes to mark the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and 50 years of the war of liberation of that country.

In a reflection of close ties with Bangladesh, 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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