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India, Saudi Arabia explore new avenues of defence cooperation

NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Saudi Arabia discussed ways to strengthen bilateral defence and strategic cooperation including the scope of increasing joint military training exercises and technology transfer for defence industrial engagement.

The issues figured in the talks between Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt and Saudi Arabia's Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Bhatt also met Assistant Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia Khaled Al-Bayari, with whom he discussed ways to further strengthen the long-standing and multi-faceted defence cooperation between the two countries.

The talks came amid increasing global concerns over the situation in West-Asia, especially the attacks on commercial cargo vessels by Iran-backed Houthi militants.

The defence ministry said the discussions centred around exploring avenues for collaboration in areas of mutual interest, including increasing the scope of joint training exercises, technology transfer and exchange of expertise.

Bhatt is on a visit to Riyadh as head of the Indian delegation at the ongoing World Defence Show (WDS) 2024.

The five-day event that commenced on February 4, is showcasing the latest advancements in defence technology serving as a vital platform for international collaboration amongst the participating companies.

The minister of state for defence also held a meeting with the Governor of Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Military Industries, Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Ohali.

"They discussed the way ahead towards collaborating in varied areas of defence production, Research & Development, besides niche technologies," the ministry said in a statement.

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