Chief of Army Staff Gen. MM Naravane has met Commander of the UAE’s Land Forces and Staff Major General Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al Ameri and discussed key issues of mutual interest and defence cooperation, the Indian Army said on Friday.
Gen. Naravane is currently on a six-day tour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, in a first-ever visit by a head of the Indian Army to the two strategically important Gulf countries.
According to the Indian Army, Gen. Naravane on Wednesday received a Guard of Honour at the headquarters of the UAE’s Land Forces and laid a wreath at the Martyr’s Point.
“#COAS also interacted with Major General Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al Ameri, Commander #LandForces & Staff and discussed issues of mutual interest & defence cooperation,” the Indian Army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information said in a tweet on Friday.
It said that Gen. Naravane also visited the Land Forces Institute, Infantry School and Armour School on Thursday.
The Army chief’s visit to the UAE aims to further strengthen bilateral defence cooperation, it added.
His visit is seen as a reflection of India’s growing strategic ties with the two countries and is expected to further open up new avenues for cooperation in the defence and security sphere.
Gen. Naravane’s visit comes in the midst of fast-paced developments in the Gulf region including normalisation of Israel’s relations with several Arab countries as well as situation arising out of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear weapons scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Ahead of his visit to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the Army said in a statement in New Delhi that “During the visit, he will be meeting his counterparts and senior military leadership of these countries. The visit is historic in the sense that it will be the first time an Indian Army chief is visiting the UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.
According to the official schedule, the Army chief will visit Saudi Arabia from December 13 to 14.
Gen. Naravane’s visit to the Gulf region comes days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s trips to Bahrain and the UAE.
In the last few years, India’s ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE have witnessed a major upswing.
Last month, the Army chief travelled to Nepal on a three-day visit that had significant diplomatic overtone.
In October, Gen. Naravane travelled to Myanmar along with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on a very crucial visit during which India decided to supply an attack submarine to the Myanmar Navy besides agreeing to further deepen military and defence ties.
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