With aim to consolidate the defence cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba visited the West Asian country on a bilateral visit from February 4 to 8, said a government statement. The visit also explored news avenues of defence cooperation between the two friendly nations.
During the visit, Admiral Lanba held bilateral discussions with Mohammad bin Abdullah Al-Aysesh, Deputy Defence Minister, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, their Army Chief General Abdul Rahman bin Saleh Al-Bunyan and Vice Admiral Fahd bin Abdulla Al-Ghofaily, Commander, Royal Saudi Naval Forces.
In February 2014, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation, since then the bilateral defence relations has matured and the two sides now holds the India and Saudi Arabia annual Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC) meetings. The last JCDC meeting was held on November 29, 2017.
Admiral Lanba also visited Saudi naval establishments like Naval Operations Centre, their Western Fleet at Jeddah including HMS Dammam, an Al-Riyadh class frigate among others.
The two navies have multi-faceted relationship and they cooperate in training, hydrographic surveys and making port calls. In May last year, INS Mumbai, Trishul and Aditya made port call at Jeddah.
The Saudi armed force officers have undergone training at various India defence training institutions. Officers from the two countries also participate as 'observers' in select military exercises conducted by the armies of the two nations.