'Indo-Saudi defence ties on upswing'

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Dubai, May 10: Military ties between India and Saudi Arabia are on the upswing, particularly in the area of training, says Lt Gen Milan Naidu, Vice Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army.

Lt Gen Naidu who completed two days official visit to Saudi Arabia said in Riyadh that a number of Saudi officers are currently undergoing training in India. An Indian officer will also be coming to Saudi Arabia next year, Col Yadav said, adding that Saudi officers have also attended military exercises in India as Observers.

"The visit was primarily aimed at fostering deeper understanding, developing mutual confidence and identifying fresh avenues of cooperation in the field of defence relations," Col R.S. Yadav, defence attache of the Indian Embassy, told Arab News.

Gen Naidu met Prince Khaled ibn Sultan, assistant minister of defence and aviation, Vice Adm. Prince Fahd ibn Abdullah, officiating chief of General Staff, Gen. Qubayel, commander of Land Forces, Prince Khaled ibn Bandar, deputy commander of Land Forces, Gen. Hameed Al-Touri, commander of Air Defence Forces, and Dr Khalil Al-Khalili, chairman of the Committee on Security Affairs in the Majlis Al-Shoura. Gen Naidu also visited the Armed Forces Command and Staff College.

"The visit was well received by both sides and is likely to result in increased interaction and better cooperation in the fields of training, technical assistance and military hardware," Col. Yadav said.

Gen Naidu's visit follows similar visits to the Kingdom by Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister of India, and Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of Planning Commission. Likewise, Vice Adm. Prince Fahd ibn Abdullah, who is also commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, and Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal were part of Saudi delegations that visited India in February this year to attend a symposium on the Indian Ocean and a visit to a defence exhibition.


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