In a signal of India’s strengthening defence ties with Gulf nations, General MM Naravane on Tuesday left for a six-day tour of the UAE and Saudi Arabia — He is the first Indian Army chief to visit the two nations in an official capacity.
The visit comes close on the heels of Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s trip to Bahrain and UAE in November.
Officials said the Army chief was scheduled to depart on the tour on Monday, but could not due to unexpected changes.
The visit, the Army said, “is historic in the sense that it will be the first time an Indian Army Chief is visiting the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”.
According to the Army statement, the Army chief is scheduled to stay in UAE on December 9 and 10, where he is slated to call on senior military officials where he will discuss avenues for enhancing India-UAE defence relations.
Since Friday and Saturday are official holidays in most Gulf nations, though the Army chief will be in the region, his official engagements in Saudi Arabia, the second leg of his visit, are slated for December 13 and 14.
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