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Defence secretary, Saudi deputy minister discuss boosting bilateral defence cooperation

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Defence Ahmed A Aseeri on Thursday held extensive talks with a focus on boosting overall defence and security cooperation between the two countries.

Aseeri met Kumar a day after the two sides held the fifth meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Joint Committee on defence cooperation.

The defence ministry said the Saudi deputy minister and the defence secretary discussed ways to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries.

In the joint committee meeting, the two sides reviewed the progress in areas of military-to-military engagements, defence industry cooperation.

It was decided to identify new avenues and examine areas of mutual interest for joint ventures in order to enhance defence industry cooperation, the ministry said.

It said enhancing the scope and complexities of the existing joint naval exercises and expanding bilateral exercises in other domains were also discussed.

The meeting took place over four months after Saudi Arabia's land forces commander Lt Gen Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair visited India.

It was the first-ever visit by a serving Royal Saudi land forces commander to India which marked a deepening of bilateral defence cooperation.

The then Chief of Army Staff, Gen MM Naravane visited Saudi Arabia in December 2020 in the first-ever visit by the Army to the strategically important Gulf nation.

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