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Indian Defence Minister leaves for Saudi Arabia

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Defence Minister A K Antony. A PTI photo.

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Saudi Arabia will strengthen military ties and develop understanding on areas of mutual interest during Defence Minister A K Antony's two-day visit to that country beginning Monday.

"I am leaving for Saudi Arabia... This is the first-ever visit by an Indian Defence Minister to that country," Antony said here.

The Minister is accompanied by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma, Army Vice Chief Lt Gen S K Singh, Navy Deputy Chief Vice Admiral Satish Soni and Air Vice Marshal M R Pawar.

Soon after reaching Riyadh, Antony will hold discussions with his counterpart Prince Salman-bin-Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, besides meeting other senior government and political leaders.

Defence cooperation between the two countries includes training exchanges, ship visits and high-level visits by senior officials.

"This visit is expected to enable both sides to engage in discussions on areas where existing cooperation can be expanded for mutual benefits," Ministry officials said.

Antony will also be interacting with the representatives of the Indian community in Saudi Arabia.

Over the years, relations between two countries have strengthened considerably owing to cooperation in regional affairs and trade.

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