Antony to visit Saudi Arabia, Qatar

May 4th, 2011 - 5:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, May 4 (ANI): In an endeavor to boost bilateral defence cooperation between India and its important partners in the Gulf, Defence Minister AK Antony will embark on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia and Qatar, beginning Saturday.

Antony will be accompanied by Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt General AS Lamba and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Armed Forces during his visit to the gulf nations.

In the first leg of his visit to Riyadh, Antony will have meetings with the top Saudi leadership on issues of bilateral and regional importance.

The visit aims at paving the way for enhanced defence interactions between the Armed Forces of the two countries, especially in areas of training and technical exchanges.

India and Saudi Arabia have been having regular exchange of defence related visits and interactions. Indian and Saudi ships have also been visiting each other’s ports from time to time.

Antony will visit Doha in the second leg of his visit during which expansion in bilateral exchanges and regional security issues will come up prominently during the discussions with the Qatari leadership.

India and Qatar had signed a bilateral agreement on defence cooperation during the visit of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Doha in November 2008.

The Indian and Qatari Armed Forces have also been exchanging visits and have participated as observers in each other’s exercises from time to time.

During his sojourn in Riyadh and Doha, Antony will also be meeting representatives of the large Indian community in both the nations. (ANI)

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