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''India keen to strengthen defence ties with Gulf''

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INS Tabar. A file photo

DUBAI (PTI): India is keen to further strengthen its existing military ties with Gulf Cooperation Council countries, Indian Ambassador to Qatar has said as four Indian naval ships arrived in the region for a goodwill visit.

"India is looking forward to further strengthen its existing co-operation in the area of defence with GCC nations and the ongoing goodwill visits by four naval ships of its Western Fleet to the region, is in the framework of the country's excellent long-standing relations with the respective states," Ambassador Sanjiv Arora told mediapersons on board INS Tabar on Thursday.

INS Tabar -- the third of the three Talwar class frigates of the Indian navy -- which has called on the Doha port for a four-day visit, Arora said the visit of the ships is another positive development in the defence relations between India and the countries in the region.

Another ship INS Aditya has also arrived in Doha and the other two vessels of the foursome, INS Mysore and INS Tarkashare headed to Kuwait. The four will join in the UAE on September 15.

Among the things on the agenda is the renewal of the defence ties with Qatar at a two-day meeting of the Joint Committee of the Defence Co-operation (JCDC) to be held in Doha on September 15 and 16.

The third meeting of the joint commission is being held after the first two meetings held in Doha (2008) and New Delhi (2011), he said.

Arora also recalled the agreement in defence co-operation between India and Qatar, and concluded in Qatar during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in November 2008.

According to a Gulf Times report, the ambassador said that the visit of the naval ships could be mutually beneficial and strengthen bilateral relations.

He said that it is taking place because of the enormous patronage extended to the naval ships and their crew by their counterparts in the region.

The diplomat said a joint four-day naval exercise of India and Oman with the participation of the Royal Navy of the Sultanate of Oman, 'Naseem al-Behr' is scheduled to be held there between September 23 and 26.

Prior to this, the ships will call on the Muscat port on a four-day visit starting from September 19.

Gulf Cooperation Council includes six countries namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE.

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India  Gulf  Defence  
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