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India, Saudi Arabia set to carry out first-ever naval exercise

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Saudi Arabia are all set to conduct their first-ever naval exercise, in reflection of their growing defence and military cooperation, officials said on Tuesday.

Indian Navy's guided-missile destroyer INS Kochi reached Saudi Arabia on Monday for the "Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021" exercise.

The warship went to Saudi Arabia after carrying out a naval exercise with the UAE Navy off the coast of Abu Dhabi on Saturday, they said.

The harbour phase of the "Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021" exercise began on Monday while the sea-based drills are taking place from Wednesday

On its arrival at the Jubail port, the ship was given a warm welcome by officials of the Royal Saudi naval forces.

The exercise is taking place amid rising tension in the Gulf region after a drone attack on a merchant tanker off Oman killed a British national and a Romanian citizen over a week back.

The UK and the US pointed fingers at Iran for the attack on MV Mercer Street, operated by an Israeli-owned firm. Tehran has already rejected the charges.

In December last year, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a first-ever visit by a head of the Indian Army to the two important Gulf countries.

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