Army chief to visit UAE, Saudi next week to boost defence ties

Army chief to visit UAE, Saudi next week to boost defence ties

NEW DELHI: Army chief General M M Naravane will visit Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates next week to bolster defence and security cooperation with the two crucial countries in the Gulf whose ties with Pakistan have deteriorated in recent months.
Gen Naravane, who leaves for the region on Sunday, will visit Saudi Arabia for two days and then head for the UAE for another two days. He will hold talks with senior military and civilian leaders in the two countries as well as visit defence establishments and academies, officials said.
Over the years, India has steadily built stronger defence ties with the Gulf nations through joint exercises, military training and intelligence-sharing, even as discussions have been underway to export the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to countries like the UAE.
UAE firm Caracal is also among the four-five foreign contenders in the fray for the proposed ‘Make in India’ project to manufacture 4.6 lakh close-quarter battle carbines for the Indian armed forces.
This is Gen Naravane’s third foreign trip with clear diplomatic overtones in recent months after his visits to Myanmar in October and Nepal in November.

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