The agreement will lead to expanded defense cooperation between New Delhi and Riyadh.
By Ankit Panda
India and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Defense Cooperation on Wednesday in New Delhi. The MoU is the result of Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud’s visit to India. al Saud is the crown prince, the deputy prime minister, and the defense minister of Saudi Arabia. His visit to India marks the highest-level visit by a Saudi leader to India since King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud visited the country in 2006.
The agreement was signed between Dr. Nizar Bin Obaid Madani, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Jitendra Singh, Indian Minister of State for Defense. The two sides additionally discussed a range of bilateral issues and intend to deepen their cooperation as part of their strategic partnership. According toLivemint, the MoU “will allow exchange of defense-related information, military training and education as well as cooperation in areas varying from hydrography and security to logistics.”
The first indicator that India and Saudi Arabia were serious about cooperating on defense matters came in 2012 when the first meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia joint committee on defense cooperation took place in New Delhi. Back then, the two expressed interest in defense exchanges and increasing military-to-military contacts. The 2012 meeting was spearheaded by Saudi Major General Suleiman Saleh al-Khalifa, Chief of Armed Forces Operations.