India’s deputy defence minister boosts ties with Saudi counterpart in Riyadh talks

The discussions centered on identifying key areas of mutual interest in defense and security and exploring opportunities for deeper cooperation. Shri Ajay Bhatt extended an invitation to the GADD Governor to visit India, emphasizing the importance of strengthening bilateral ties through regular high-level exchanges.

Raksha Rajya Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt recently concluded a significant diplomatic visit to Saudi Arabia, where he led the Indian delegation for the World Defence Show 2024 in Riyadh. During his stay, he engaged in a series of strategic meetings aimed at enhancing bilateral defense cooperation and exploring avenues for further collaboration between India and Saudi Arabia.

On the final day of his engagements, Shri Ajay Bhatt visited the General Authority for Defence Development (GADD) in Riyadh, where he met with its Governor, Dr. Faleh bin-Abdullah Al-Sulaiman. The discussions centered on identifying key areas of mutual interest in defence and security and exploring opportunities for deeper cooperation. Shri Ajay Bhatt extended an invitation to the GADD Governor to visit India, emphasizing the importance of strengthening bilateral ties through regular high-level exchanges.

Subsequently, Shri Ajay Bhatt visited the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), where he met with its President, Dr. Munir M Eldesouki. During the visit, Shri Ajay Bhatt toured the KACST premises, gaining insights into the organization’s research and development initiatives in the fields of science, technology, and defense. The discussions aimed to foster collaboration between Indian and Saudi institutions in cutting-edge research and innovation.

Earlier in his visit, on February 07, Shri Ajay Bhatt paid a visit to the headquarters of the Saudi Arabian Military Industry – Advanced Electronics Company (SAMI-AEC) in Riyadh. The meeting provided an opportunity for both sides to engage in insightful discussions on strengthening defence ties and exploring avenues for future collaboration in defence manufacturing and technology transfer.

Additionally, Shri Ajay Bhatt visited Al-Turaif, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Diriyah, showcasing India’s appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s rich cultural heritage.

A community event hosted at the Embassy of India, Riyadh, served as a platform for Shri Ajay Bhatt to address the gathering on India’s commitment to holistic development and women empowerment. He highlighted the government’s efforts to empower women across all sectors, including the armed forces. The event also featured a cultural program organized by Indian schools in Riyadh, showcasing the diversity and heritage of India, and fostering cultural exchange and understanding between the two nations.

During the visit, three distinguished women officers from the Indian Armed Forces – Squadron Leader Bhawana Kanth, Colonel Ponung Doming, and Lieutenant Commander Annu Prakash – interacted with over 700 Indian students from various CBSE-affiliated schools in Riyadh. Their discussions centered on opportunities for women in the Indian Armed Forces, inspiring the students with stories of resilience, dedication, and success.

The visit of the Indian delegation, led by Shri Ajay Bhatt, underscored the robustness of bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia. It reaffirmed the commitment of both nations to strengthening cooperation in defence, technology, and cultural exchange, paving the way for a safer and more prosperous future for both countries.