Indian Army chief to visit Saudi Arabia, UAE next week


In a significant development, Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane will be on a week-long two-country visit next week. He will be visiting Saudi Arabia and UAE. This is first such visit by any Indian Army chief to both the West Asian Arab countries.

He will be in Saudi Arabia from 6th to 8th December. India and Saudi Arabia have had increased engagement in defence. Riyadh-Delhi ties have seen high voltage diplomatic activity, including 2 high-level visit–first by Crown Prince to Delhi in 2018, followed by the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the country last year. India is one of the key strategic partners of the Kingdom, with trade, investment and others being the main pillars.

General Naravane’s next stop will be the United Arab Emirates, another country with which India has increased engagement on several fronts. The army chief’s visit comes just days after India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to the country. UAE hosts one of the largest populations of Indians outside of India.

This is army chief’s 3rd foreign visit, amidst the Covid pandemic. He has been to Myanmar, Nepal. The focus is now on the Arab world.

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