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Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt on a visit to Riyadh for World Defence Show 2024

Holds talks with Saudi Defence Minister & Assistant Defence Minister to further consolidate bilateral cooperation in multifarious sectors

February 7, 2024 Photo(s): By X / SpokespersonMoD
Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt leads an Indian delegation at World Defence Show 2024 in Riyadh, highlighting the growing defence ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

Bearing testimony to the growing defence ties between India and Saudi Arabia, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt is on a visit to Riyadh as head of the Indian delegation for the ongoing World Defence Show (WDS) 2024. The five-day show, which commenced on February 4, 2024, is showcasing the latest advancements in defence technology serving as a vital platform for international collaboration amongst the participating companies. On behalf of the Government of India, the Minister of State for Defence extended his greetings to the leadership of Saudi Arabia for hosting the impressive event which culminates on February 8, 2024.

On February 6, 2024, the Minister of State for Defence held a meeting with the Defence Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on the sidelines of the show. They discussed various aspects of bilateral defence cooperation. Ajay Bhatt also held talks with the Assistant Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia Dr Khaled Al-Bayari, with whom he discussed ways to further strengthen the long-standing and multi-faceted defence cooperation between the two countries. The discussions centred around exploring avenues for collaboration in areas of mutual interest, including increasing the scope of joint training exercises, technology transfer and exchange of expertise.

In addition, the Minister of State for Defence held a meeting with the Governor of Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) Ahmad Abdulaziz Al-Ohali. They discussed the way ahead towards collaborating in varied areas of defence production, Research & Development, besides niche technologies. He also visited the pavilion of Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) on the sidelines of WDS 2024.

Both sides in all discussions shared a deep understanding of the evolving security landscape and resolved to increase bilateral defence cooperation in multifarious sectors while also recognising the mutual benefits of a strong partnership in safeguarding regional security. Ajay Bhatt expressed confidence that the India-Saudi Arabia partnership will continue to grow from strength to strength, contributing significantly to regional stability and global security.

The Minister of State for Defence also interacted with the representatives of Indian defence companies participating in the Defence Show and congratulated them for their impressive cutting-edge technologies & innovative solutions. The participation by Indian defence companies will not only contribute towards an increase in footprint but further develop the defence industry in both countries by forming lasting partnerships.

Ajay Bhatt also witnessed the signing of an MoU between Munitions India Limited and its local partner on the sidelines of WDS 2024. He also attended a Business networking event with leading Indian and Saudi business personalities in Saudi Arabia.

India's ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and Saudi Arabia's ‘Vision 2030’ are national programmes that can be mutually beneficial to both sides. Both initiatives prioritise technological advancements, indigenous capabilities and knowledge sharing. As highlighted by both sides, there is an immense potential for collaboration in these areas particularly in co-development and joint production of defence technologies. The visit has reaffirmed the inherent strength of bilateral ties, opened new avenues for cooperation and solidified shared commitments towards a safer and prosperous future.