ABU DHABI: Chief of Army Staff Gen. MM Naravane discussed bilateral defence cooperation and issues of mutual interest with the UAE’s Commander of the Land Forces Major General Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al Ameri, the Indian Army said on Friday on his historic visit to the key Gulf nation.
Gen. Naravane visited the United Arab Emirates from December 9 to 10.
The Army chief will then travel to Saudi Arabia for the second leg of his tour from December 13 to 14. This is the 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.
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.”
Gen. Naravane’s visit to the Gulf region comes days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s trips to Bahrain and the UAE during which he called on top leaders of the two countries.
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.
Courtesy – timesofindia