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India, Saudi Arabia decide to further expand defence ties | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: India and Saudi Arabia have decided to further expand their bilateral defence ties through military exchanges and training courses, exploring defence industrial collaborations and procurements, as part of New Delhi’s continuing upward trajectory in military ties with the Gulf countries.
This came after Royal Saudi Land Forces commander Lt-General Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair held “significant” discussions with Army chief General M M Naravane, among others, on Tuesday.
“This is the first-ever visit by a serving Royal Saudi Land Forces commander to India and marks the deepening defence cooperation between the two countries. Gen Naravane had gone to Saudi Arabia in December 2020, the first time that an Indian Army Chief visited the country,” a senior officer said.
“The bilateral relationship has grown because of common interests in economic prosperity, eliminating the scourge of terrorism and mitigating the effects of climate change. Defence diplomacy forms one of the major tenets of the overall relationship,” he added.
India is also in discussions with countries like Saudi Arabia and UAE to export BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, which have a strike range of 290-km, and the Akash air defence missiles, which have an interception range of 25-km, as was reported by TOI earlier.
On Tuesday, the top Saudi military officer was also briefed by the Army Design Bureau on the “current capabilities and competencies” of the Indian defence industry and the indigenous military systems inducted by the Indian armed forces, ranging from missiles, drones and counter-drone systems to helicopters, specialist vehicles and radio systems.
The discussions also included the areas of collaboration that are feasible with the Indian industry to meet requirements of the Royal Saudi Land Forces. “He was also given a presentation on the Indian government’s policy initiatives and enabling provisions for the defence industry, the start-up ecosystem being facilitated, and the various niche technologies being developed in conjunction with start-ups and technology incubation with the academia,” another official said.
The expanding bilateral defence ties saw India and Saudi Arabia conduct their first-ever naval exercise called “Al Mohed Al Hind” in August last year. It had come soon after the Indian Navy had also conducted the “Zayed Talwar” exercise with the UAE Navy off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
Earlier in March, the IAF had taken part with Sukhoi-30MKI fighters and C-17 Globemaster-III aircraft in a major multi-nation air combat exercise called “Desert Flag” in the UAE. Air forces from the US, France, South Korea, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain also took part in the exercise.
The UAE Air Force, incidentally, has been providing support through its Airbus MRTT refuelling aircraft to IAF’s new Rafale fighters on their over 7,000-km flight to India from France.





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