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Delhi, Riyadh to work together on securing Indian Ocean and Gulf regions

India will hold its first joint naval exercise with Saudi Arabia in December 2019-January 2020 - notwithstanding tension in and around the Persian Gulf region.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Oct 31, 2019, 10.32 AM IST
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Delhi, Riyadh to work together on securing Indian Ocean and Gulf regions
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets H.M. King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019.
RIYADH: India and Saudi Arabia, ahead of their maiden naval exercise in December, agreed on the importance of bilateral engagements to ensure the security and safety of waterways in the Indian Ocean and Gulf regions from the threats that may affect the interests of the two countries.

The subject figured on the agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Saudi leadership here on Wednesday and signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a Strategic Partnership Council. The proposed Indo-Saudi engagement in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), as part of New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific vision, is key to stability and order amid China’s growing interest in the region. The partnership is shaping up amid Riyadh’s interest to play an active role in the Indian Ocean Region. Saudi, which wants to increase its presence along some of Africa’s Eastern coast ports, has potential to emerge as India’s key partner in the Western IOR after France.

India will hold its first joint naval exercise with Saudi Arabia in December 2019-January 2020 - notwithstanding tension in and around the Persian Gulf region. Modi hosted the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in February this year, when both leaders agreed that New Delhi and Riyadh should “work together with other Indian Ocean Rim Countries for enhancing maritime security, vital for the security and prosperity of both countries and safe passage for international trade”.

India is going to hold the naval exercise with Saudi Arabia at a time when tension in and around the Persian Gulf has escalated. With almost one-third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 25% of total global oil consumption passing through it, the narrow Strait of Hormuz is a highly important strategic route for international trade.

Four commercial ships, including two Saudi Aramco oil tankers, were damaged in an alleged 'sabotage attack' near the port of Fujairah (in the UAE) on May 12.

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