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In growing cooperation, India and Saudi Arabia hold naval exercise

Officers of the Indian Navy with their counterparts of the Saudi Arabian Navy (Photo: PIB)

The Navy vessels arrived in Saudi Arabia as part of a five-nation overseas deployment and will stay in the country for four days, the Indian Navy informed in a statement.

During this visit, Captain Aftab Ahmed Khan, senior officer, First Training Squadron along with commanding officers of the accompanying Indian ships called on Rear Admiral Yahya Bin Mohammed Al-Assiri, Western Fleet Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, the statement read.

The statement also added that issues of bilateral Naval cooperation and training initiatives between the two countries were discussed during the meeting between officers.

Captain Aftab Ahmed Khan, Senior Officer, First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy with Rear Admiral Yahya Bin Mohammed Al-Assiri, Western Fleet Commander of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces (Photo: PIB)

Jeddah is a port city situated on the coast of the Red Sea, located between the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden.

Notably, the Indian Navy routinely conducts anti-piracy operations in the region, with the Navy's INS Kolkata recently visiting Djibouti from May 4-7 as part of an anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden.

Indian Navy warships have been deployed in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008 for an anti-piracy patrol to ensure the safe transit of merchant vessels, the Navy informed in a statement on Twitter. 

Arab News reports that “the arrival of the ships at Jeddah heralds a new chapter in bilateral defense ties after the first-ever joint naval exercise between India and the Kingdom, “Al-Mohed Al-Hind,” took place last year”.

At a Friday evening reception on INR Tir, Indian Charge d'Affaires N. Ram Prasad said the arrival of the Indian naval ships bore testimony to the growing defence ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

"The past few years have seen a tremendous growth in our bilateral relations, be it energy, trade, infrastructure development, medical research, people to people exchanges, defence cooperation and security."

India is Saudi Arabia's second largest trading partner with trade approaching $40 billion, he said.

"As we celebrate 75 years of India-Saudi Arabia diplomatic relations, we can look back with pride at the development of brotherly ties over the past several decades," said Prasad. 

Read More: Indian naval ship INS Sudarshini building 'Bridges of Friendship' with Iranian Navy