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Saudi land forces commander pays first visit to India

Royal Saudi Armed Forces, Lt Gen Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair at his ceremonial reception, at South Block, in New Delhi, Tuesday, Feb 15, 2022. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI):  Saudi Arabia's land forces commander Lt Gen Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair on Tuesday held extensive talks with Army Chief Gen MM Naravane on the second day of his "historic" visit to India.

The defence ministry said it is the first ever visit by a serving Royal Saudi land forces commander to India and marks a deepening of bilateral defence cooperation.

In reflection of the importance India attached to the three-day trip, the ministry also described it as a "historic" and "landmark" visit from Saudi Arabia.

It said Gen Naravane and Lt Gen Al-Mutair met for "significant bilateral discussions" and that the visiting commander was briefed on "security aspects".

"In a historic and landmark visit, the Commander of the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Lieutenant General Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair, arrived in India on February 14," the defence ministry said in a statement.

Without sharing further details of the talks, it said the relationship between India and Saudi Arabia has grown owing to common interests in economic prosperity, eliminating the scourge of terrorism and mitigating the effects of climate change.

"Lieutenant General Fahd Bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair, Commander, Royal Saudi Land Forces, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia called on General MM Naravane #COAS & discussed ways to further enhance the bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries," the Army tweeted.

Lt Gen Al-Mutair was accorded a guard of honour at the South Block lawns before the talks.

The defence and security ties between India and Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing in the last few years.

The Chief of Army Staff visited Saudi Arabia in December 2020 in the first-ever visit by a head of the 1.3 million-strong Army to the strategically important Gulf nation.

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