Towards growth: India to boost defence ties with Saudi Arabia

Towards growth: India to boost defence ties with Saudi Arabia

Towards growth: India to boost defence ties with Saudi Arabia
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Riyadh next month will see India and Saudi Arabia seeking to boost bilateral defence cooperation with focus on joint exercises and arms production besides transfer of technology.

Modi will travel to Riyadh on April 2 for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia. He and King Salman, the ruler of Saudi Arabia, will review the bilateral relations and explore ways to build on the strategic partnership of the two nations.  Officials told Deccan Herald that one of the areas the two leaders were expected to emphasise for enhancing cooperation in was defence, building on the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding inked in February 2014.

Both India and Saudi Arabia are keen to step up military-to-military contact. New Delhi is interested in regular exercise between Indian Navy and Royal Saudi Navy in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, as well as in Indian Ocean. The Indian Army is also keen to have joint exercises with Royal Saudi Land Force, sources in New Delhi said. Riyadh on the other hand wants New Delhi to offer more slots for Saudi Arabian defence personnel in training facilities in India. Officials said that New Delhi might also help Riyadh set up a training facility for the personnel of the Saudi Arabian special force in the kingdom itself. Indian Navy ships have been making regular friendly visits to ports in Saudi Arabia.

The Indian Air Force aircraft for the first time landed at the King Fahd Air Base in Taif in Saudi Arabia in August 2015. The mission comprised more than 100 high-ranking Indian Air Force officers and airmen onboard Sukhoi MKI fighter aircraft, C-17 Globe Masters, C-130 Super Hercules and IL-78 aircraft, landed in Taif.
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