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Saudi army chief makes ‘historic’ visit to India

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NEW DEHLI: The Saudi Arabian army chief paid a “historic and landmark” first visit to India this week, according to a press release from the Indian Ministry of Defence.

Saudi Arabia Land Forces Commander Lieutenant General Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair arrived in India on Monday and ended his three-day trip on Wednesday, according to the statement.

The press release noted it was the first-ever visit by a serving Royal Saudi Land Forces Commander to India and marked the “deepening bilateral defence cooperation” between the two countries, adding that it aimed to further bolster cooperation.

The Saudi chief met Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane in New Delhi on the second day of his visit and was presented a ceremonial guard of honour.

The two army chiefs later had “significant bilateral discussions” with the Indian general briefing his counterpart on security aspects, the Indian defence ministry said.

The Indian army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information also said the two “discussed ways to further enhance the bilateral defence cooperation”.

The press release noted that the relationship between India and Saudi Arabia had been growing due to common interests of economic prosperity, eliminating terrorism and mitigating the effects of climate change. “Defence diplomacy forms one of the major tenets of the overall relationship,” it added.

The Saudi army chief said his visit was an “important step” to highlight the importance of military relations and thanked his Indian counterpart for the invitation, according to a statement carried by state-run Saudi Press Agency.

It added that he also paid a visit to the Indian National Defence University.

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