Saudi, Indian armed forces strengthen ties with key Delhi visit

Royal Saudi Land Forces commander Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair is given a guard of honor during his visit to New Delhi on Tuesday. (Supplied)
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Royal Saudi Land Forces commander Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair is given a guard of honor during his visit to New Delhi on Tuesday. (Supplied)
India's Chief of Army Staff Gen. M.M. Naravane receives Royal Saudi Land Forces commander Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Supplied)
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India's Chief of Army Staff Gen. M.M. Naravane receives Royal Saudi Land Forces commander Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 February 2022

Saudi, Indian armed forces strengthen ties with key Delhi visit

India's Chief of Army Staff Gen. M.M. Naravane receives Royal Saudi Land Forces commander Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Supplied)
  • Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair receives grand welcome in Delhi

JEDDAH: In a historic first, Royal Saudi Land Forces commander Lt. Gen. Fahd bin Abdullah Mohammed Al-Mutair arrived in New Delhi on Monday.

Both Saudi Arabia and India share common security concerns and strive to be strategic defense partners by being major regional players.

On Tuesday, India’s Chief of Army Staff Gen. M.M. Naravane received Lt. Gen. Al-Mutair in the South Block lawns of India’s Ministry of Defense, where the latter was presented with a customary guard of honor.

The chiefs, along with their respective delegations, held discussions to review the present state of military cooperation and issues of mutual interest.

Al-Mutair also met with officials of the Indian Armed Forces.

Building on relations following the historic visit of the chief of the Indian Army in December 2020, both commanders have spoken regularly to monitor the progress of a mutually agreed-upon roadmap of bilateral relations.

Defense relations between the two countries have seen a notable upswing in the last year with a series of high-level interactions and the first bilateral naval exercise, “Al-Mohed Al-Hindi,” conducted in August 2021 in Jubail, in the Eastern Province.

Despite COVID-19 travel restrictions, officers from both the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and the Indian Armed Forces are undergoing training in various military institutes of the two countries.  

“This year, we expect more exchanges and training activities to be conducted between the two friendly countries,” said India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed.

“New areas of cooperation are being mutually identified, including intelligence sharing, counter-terrorism, artificial intelligence and cyber security, in addition to conducting the first-ever land forces exercise in the second half of 2022,” he said.

As India celebrates 75 years since establishing its diplomatic relations with the Kingdom, Sayeed explained, defense cooperation remains one of the key pillars of bilateral relations between the two countries.

“King Salman’s vision was to provide a major impetus to defense relations, which he himself elevated to a new level by signing the Memorandum of Defense Cooperation in 2014,” he said.

“Since then, there have been numerous positive initiatives under the guidance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” he added.


Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan

Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan
Updated 58 min 4 sec ago

Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan

Gunmen kill 2 policemen escorting polio workers in Pakistan
  • The assailants fled the scene and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the town of Gomal

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on Tuesday on police escorting a team of polio workers in northwestern Pakistan, killing two policemen, authorities said.
None of the polio workers were harmed, said Mohammad Imran, a local police official. The four polio workers and their police escort were all traveling on motorcycles.
The assailants fled the scene and no one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack in the town of Gomal, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan.
The attack came on the second day of Pakistan’s latest anti-polio campaign in the province. Pakistan has registered 14 new polio cases since April, all from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
The outbreak has been a blow to the Islamic nation’s efforts to eradicate the disease, which can cause severe paralysis in children.
Pakistan’s anti-polio campaigns are regularly marked by violence as Islamic militants often target polio teams and police protecting them, falsely claiming that the vaccination campaigns are a Western conspiracy to sterilize children.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic. In 2021, Pakistan reported only one case, raising hopes it was close to eradicating polio.

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Moscow was in full solidarity with key ally Beijing during Pelosi’s August visit to self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, which China considers its territory.


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MULTAN, Pakistan: A passenger bus rammed into a fuel truck on a highway in eastern Pakistan before dawn on Tuesday, igniting a fire that killed at least 20 people, police and rescue officials said.
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  • Sunday’s blast at the Surmalu wholesale market also injured 60 people
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YEREVAN: The death toll from an explosion at a bustling market in the Armenian capital Yerevan rose to 16, Armenia’s emergency situations ministry said on Tuesday.
Sunday’s blast at the Surmalu wholesale market also injured 60 people after it caused a fire and the collapse of a building.
“Sixteen bodies were found during search and rescue efforts,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that 18 people were still missing.
Officials said more than 350 rescuers are at work on the ground.
The cause has not yet been established, but local news reports, citing witnesses, said the explosion went off at a place that stored fireworks.
Local authorities have excluded the possibility that it was a terror attack and prosecutors have already launched a probe into violations “on stocking inflammable goods,” breaches in fire safety standards and the death of people “due to negligence.”
The disaster comes as the country of three million people is still recovering from a 2020 war with Azerbaijan, which ended in a heavy defeat and sparked a political crisis.
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