Gen Naravane inaugurates Indian Army memorial; holds talks with Italian defence minister

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (PTI) Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane on Thursday inaugurated a memorial in the Italian town of Cassino as a mark of respect to the Indian soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in World War II.

On the second day of his visit to Italy, Gen Naravane also held talks with his Italian counterpart Lt Gen Pietro Serino and Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini in Rome focusing on strengthening bilateral defence cooperation, including military-to-military engagement.

The Chief of Army Staff arrived in Rome on Wednesday on a two-day visit on the second leg of his two-nation tour of the UK and Italy.

'General MM Naravane #COAS inaugurated the Indian Army Memorial in the town of #Cassino and later laid wreath at the Commonwealth Cemetery,' the Army tweeted.

On his meeting with Italian Defence Minister Guerini, officials said, they exchanged views on strengthening defence cooperation between the two countries.

'General MM Naravane #COAS interacted with Lieutenant General Pietro Serino, Chief of Italian Army and discussed aspects of joint military cooperation,' the Army said in another tweet.

Ways to further intensify defence cooperation had figured prominently at a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte in November last year.

The two prime ministers had underscored the need to further expand defence engagement through greater two-way collaboration and technology cooperation, including co-development and co-production of military hardware.

Italy has been a source of procurement of military hardware and platforms by India's armed forces. Gen Naravane's visit to Italy comes days after Indian naval ship INS Tabar and Italian frigate ITS Antonio Marceglia carried out a two-day maritime partnership exercise in the Tyrrhenian sea.

The exercise on July 4 and 5 covered a wide range of naval operations, including air defence procedures, replenishment at sea, communication drills and cross deck helo operations by day and night, an Indian Navy spokesperson said.

Defence and military ties between the two countries have witnessed steady expansion. PTI MPB TIR TIR

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