India and Saudi Arabia agree to set up a Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by Singh, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

    Feb 23, 2009
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    To give a boost to the defence ties between the two countries, India and Saudi Arabia have decided to set up a Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation to work out the contours of the relationship. The decision was taken at the delegation level talks between the two countries in Riyadh on Tuesday.

    The Indian delegation was led by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony and the Saudi delegation by his counterpart Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. The Saudi Deputy Minister of Defence Prince Khalid Bin Sultan and senior functionaries of the Saudi Military organisations also attended the meeting. The Indian delegation included the Defence Secretary Shri Shashi Kant Sharma, the Indian Ambassador Shri Hamid Ali Rao, Vice-Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen SK Singh, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Satish Soni and Air Vice Marshal MR Pawar.

    The proposed Committee will evolve plans for cooperation in numerous areas including signing of an MoU on defence cooperation, high level reciprocal visits at all levels- political, official and Services, ship visits and conducting Passage Exercises during such visits. The Committee will also explore the possibility of signing an MoU on cooperation in hydrography, increased participation in training programmes on both sides and examine the possibility of cooperation in defence industries. Shri Antony’s suggestion for the visit of a delegation from Saudi Arabia to see our defence production facilities in near future was accepted by Prince Salman. The latter also accepted an invitation from Shri Antony to visit India later this year.

    Expressing concern at the spread of piracy in the Indian Ocean Region, Shri Antony’s suggestion that the navies of the two countries could explore practical cooperation in the fight against piracy and an active role of the Royal Saudi Navy in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) construct were readily accepted by Prince Salman.

    Reviewing the security situation in the Gulf Region, the two sides agreed that all issues need to be settled through peaceful dialogue.

    Earlier, on his arrival at the Defence Ministry Headquarters in Riyadh, Shri Antony was presented an Inter-Services Guard of Honour. Prince Khalid also hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting delegation.

    Shri Antony returned home late last night.

    Courtesy MoD DPR
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  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Oct 8, 2009
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    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Growing Saudi-India ties - Arab News

    The agreements that emerged at the end of the two-day visit to the Kingdom this week by Indian Defense Minister A. K. Antony, signal the growing importance of both countries to each other.

    India’s thriving economy needs Saudi oil to offset its diminishing liftings from Iran. Likewise, Indian business wants to boost its exports to the Kingdom, not least winning orders as part of the Saudi drive to build major new infrastructure and grow a flourishing nonoil based economic sector. Indian trade with the GCC now tops $130 billion and more than six million Indian citizens live and work in the region, two million of them in the Kingdom. For Saudi Arabia, closer cooperation with New Delhi, particularly in military terms, makes sense in a wider region still beset with instability.

    Formalizing closer relations actually reflects a reality of increasing trade links that were given real impetus by the 2006 visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to India, with a large official party, including leading Saud businessmen and investors. They were further boosted with the return visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2010.

    It would, however, be wrong for anyone to imagine that a growing Saudi relationship, even a military one, means that Saudi relations with Pakistan are going to be diminished. It does not have to work that way — and Saudi Arabia certainly does not see it that way. There is no reason therefore why anyone in Pakistan should worry about India’s emergence as a Saudi partner. The Saudi government is friends with both and pursues a very balanced and positive policy toward both. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has long supported increased dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi and promoted a settlement of their historic differences. If anything, the Kingdom’s drawing closer to India may actually have a positive impact on the relationship between the rival neighbors.

    The deal to supply the Indians with more crude from the Kingdom’s two million barrels a day spare capacity comes at a key moment. Saudi Arabia is already India’s largest supplier and because of payment clearing problems, Indian refiners have been cutting their purchases of Iranian crude. Delhi’s attitude to Tehran also hardened last week after Iranians were blamed for a bomb attack in the Indian capital, as well as another in Bangkok. Indeed closer cooperation on terrorism was an issue that was discussed during the Indian defense minister’s stay.

    The fine print of the Saudi-Indian defense deal will be worked out in advance of a visit by Defense Minister Prince Salman to New Delhi later in the year. A joint committee is looking at a range of defense cooperation options.These will include defense production and increased training of personnel, which could involve Indian mountain troops training their Saudi counterparts in the Kingdom. However, it is already clear that ground-breaking joint exercises are in the offing. There are also likely to be high-level army, naval and air force exchanges, as well as goodwill visits by ships from both navies. Of especial importance is the scheme to work closely on combating piracy in the Indian Ocean where commercial vessels from both countries have fallen victim to attacks from pirates based in Somalia.

    That the Indians are very serious about military cooperation was made clear by the top brass who traveled to the Kingdom with Defense Minister Antony and Defense Secretary Shashi K. Sharma. They included Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff Vice Adm. Satish Soni and Air Vice Marshal M. R. Pawar.

    One early sign of the increased cooperation is likely to be in hydrography. The Indian Navy would be working with their Saudi counterparts on nautical chart-making and the hydrographical surveys of key Saudi coastal areas, ports and harbors and sea areas. A substantial expansion of hydrographic training programs is also planned. Indeed, Indian officials have already been helping in the field.

    Saudi Arabia’s continued new focus upon Asia, while by no means ignoring its historic relations with Europe and North America, is an inevitable reflection of the slow but steady shift of economic and geopolitical power to the East.

    Even though the final details have yet to be worked out, it is clear from the mood music from both sides during this Indian visit, that this has been a highly successful trip which will be leading to a growth in relations, at both a military and commercial level.

    This is an editorial in the Arab news giving the Saudi point of view which lists among other things a robust Counter-terror mechanism being built as well as the keenness of our armed forces to build military to military ties with the Saudis. In particular, the naval aspect.
    Some very interesting but not unexpected developments in the Indo-Saudi relations. Its only natural that we develop close ties with the GCC states in all areas including inheriting the network of relations from the US in these areas when it withdraws from this region for whatever reason. Least of all because we have to be vigilant and work in partnership with the US to keep China out of the GCC. India has an enormous leg up in this region compared to China and it is geographical closer to India as well, so it should not be difficult as long as we don't make any major mistakes.
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