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Indian Navy Chief holds talks with UAE's top defence brass

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Navy Chief Adm. Sunil Lanba with Commander of UAE Naval Forces Maj. Gen. Ebrahim Salem Mohammed Al Mushrakh. An Indian Navy photo via Twitter

DUBAI (PTI): Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on Sunday held extensive talks with the top brass of UAE's defence establishment and explored ways to bolster strategic partnership between the two navies, in tune with India's efforts to deepen security ties with the key Gulf nation.

On the first day of his three-day trip, Lanba held separate deliberations with Commander of UAE Naval Forces Maj. Gen. Ebrahim Salem Mohammed Al Mushrakh and Matar Salem Ali Al Dahri, a key functionary in UAE's Defence Ministry and discussed a range of key issues relating to maritime security.

The talks focused on enhancing current level cooperation between naval forces of the two countries, and boosting overall strategic defence ties in the wake of the current security scenario in the region, Indian defence sources said.

Lanba is also scheduled to meet Minister of State for Defence Mohammed bin Ahmad Al Bowardi and Chief of Staff, UAE Armed Forces Lt. Gen. Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi.

The Navy Chief also met Commander of UAE's National Defence College Maj. Gen. Pilot Rashed Mohammed Salem Al Saadi.

New Delhi is looking at increasing defence and security engagement with UAE, a major player in the strategically important Gulf region.

Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan had visited India last month during which both sides had decided to step up defence and security cooperation.

However, much-anticipated pact pertaining to the USD 75 billion investment fund, committed by the UAE, was not among the fourteen pacts which were signed after the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

On the second leg of his trip, Lanba will visit Oman from March 1-2 where he will hold bilateral talks with Bader Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi, Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs of Oman, as also with the three service chiefs.

The Admiral will visit the Sultan Qaboos Naval Academy and the Said Bin Naval Base where he will also visit the Fleet Maintenance Facility and the latest Khareef Class corvette, RNOV Al Shamikh.

The Indian Navy cooperates with both the navies of UAE and Oman on many fronts, which include training and operational interactions.

It cooperates with UAE's navy through Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) and through the Joint Military Cooperation Committee (JMCC) with Oman, the ministry said.

In addition, the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman have been conducting the bilateral Maritime Exercise 'Naseem Al Bahr' since 1993. Ten editions have been held so far, the last one being held off the Goa coast in January 2016.

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