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World

Indian Army Chief Gen. Naravane to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE, indicating growing ties

  • Indian Army Chief Gen. M.M. Naravane will be travelling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week, in an unprecedented move that can be seen as a reflection of the growing relationship between India and the Gulf States.
Updated 04 Dec, 2020

NEW DELHI: Indian Army Chief Gen. M.M. Naravane will be travelling to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates next week, in an unprecedented move that can be seen as a reflection of the growing relationship between India and the Gulf States.

As reported by ThePrint, sources in the defence and security establishment have stated that the four-day visit will comprise of meetings with military and intelligence officials, in addition to Gen. Naravane addressing the Saudi National Defence College.

This will be the Indian Army Chief's inaugural visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, closely followed by one made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

Over the past few years, India's relations with countries in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have significantly improved and grown, with India becoming a source of economic interest for the Gulf nations.

Gen. Naravane’s visit is not simply an extension of those deepening ties, but also a reflection of their shared security and strategic interests. On the other hand, this visit comes at a time when Pakistan's relationship with Saudi Arabia, a historically strong ally, has deteriorated.

While Pakistan and the Kingdom held decades of close political, military and economic ties, their fraternal relationship hit a roadblock when in August this year, Pakistan's Foriegn Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi criticised Riyadh for failing to call a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation on the Kashmir issue.

As Pakistan strays further away from its allies in the Middle East, India has continued to strategically make diplomatic incursions into the region.

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