India, Saudi Arabia to talk over defence cooperation

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Indian Ocean
Riyadh, Feb 15: India and Saudi Arabia have decided to set up a joint committee on defence cooperation to work out the contours of the relationship and give a boost to military ties between the two nations, as well as explore ways of cooperation in fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean.

In a meeting between Defence Minister A K Antony and his Saudi counterpart Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud yesterday, the two sides expressed concerns over the rise in piracy in Indian Ocean region and agreed to "explore practical cooperation in the fight against piracy and an active role of the Royal Saudi Navy in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium construct".

"At the delegation level talks, India and Saudi Arabia decided to set up a Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation to work out the contours of the relationship," Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.

He said the proposed Committee would "evolve plans for cooperation in numerous areas including signing of an MoU on defence cooperation, high level reciprocal visits at all levels -- political, official and Services, ship visits and conducting Passage Exercises during such visits".

In the discussions, it was agreed that the proposed Committee will also explore the possibility of signing an MoU for cooperation in hydrography, increased participation in training programmes on both sides and examine the possibility of cooperation in defence industries.

Reviewing the security situation in the Gulf Region, the two sides agreed that all issues need to be settled through peaceful dialogue.

PTI

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