Lucknow, Feb 6 : Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with his counterpart from Madagascar, Lt. General Rokotonirina Richard, on the second day of DefExpo 2020 here on Thursday where he stressed upon enhancing ties in maritime security cooperation in the region.
He said that, as maritime neighbours both countries have responsibility to ensure a secure maritime environment so that trade and commerce can flourish.
Underlining the President of India' state visit to Madagascar in March 2018, Singh said: "The historic visit reaffirmed the excellent bilateral relationship between the two countries". He emphasised that the MoU signed during the visit provided an enabling framework for defence cooperation between the two countries.
Singh hoped that the DefExpo 2020 would provide a platform for both the countries to further strengthen the defence ties and in exploring various areas of mutual engagement.
In his remarks, Lt. General Rokotonirina Richard said India has a great role to play in preserving security in the Indian ocean maritime region. He expressed his government's sincere gratitude for 'Operation Vanilla', in which Indian Navy provided assistance to the affected population of Madagascar after the devastation caused by Cyclone Diane.
The Defence Minister of Madagascar invited Singh to the Independence Day celebrations of his country on June 26 this year.