Saudi, Indian naval exercise heralds new era in ties

Saudi, Indian naval exercise heralds new era in ties
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Over the years, the ship has trained more than 4,000 officers including those from friendly foreign countries, visited 27 countries and has been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation. (Supplied)
Saudi, Indian naval exercise heralds new era in ties
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Over the years, the ship has trained more than 4,000 officers including those from friendly foreign countries, visited 27 countries and has been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation. (Supplied)
Saudi, Indian naval exercise heralds new era in ties
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Over the years, the ship has trained more than 4,000 officers including those from friendly foreign countries, visited 27 countries and has been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation. (Supplied)
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Updated 07 May 2022

Saudi, Indian naval exercise heralds new era in ties

Saudi, Indian naval exercise heralds new era in ties
  • The exercise comes amid growing defense ties between India and Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Vessels from the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy — INS Tir and INS Sujata along with Indian Coast Guard ship Sarathi — arrived on Thursday at Jeddah port for a training exchange.

The exercise comes amid growing defense ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

The ships were also joined by INS Tarangini, one of the few sail training ships in the world, on Friday.

The arrival of the ships at Jeddah heralds a new chapter in bilateral defense ties after the first-ever joint naval exercise between India and the Kingdom, “Al-Mohed Al-Hind,” took place last year.

The squadron is commanded by Capt. Aftab Ahmed Khan, senior officer of the First Training Squadron and commanding officer of INS Tir.

Upon arrival at the Jeddah port, the ships were given a warm welcome by officials from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Border Guards and Indian Embassy. 




Over the years, the ship has trained more than 4,000 officers including those from friendly foreign countries, visited 27 countries and has been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation. (Supplied)

In February this year, a Royal Saudi Naval Forces delegation took part in the “Milan 2022” multi-national exercise that saw delegations from 40 countries train on India’s eastern shore.

At a Friday evening reception on INR Tir, Indian Charge d'Affaires N. Ram Prasad said the arrival of the Indian naval ships bore testimony to the growing defense ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

"The past few years have seen a tremendous growth in our bilateral relations, be it energy, trade, infrastructure development, medical research, people to people exchanges, defense cooperation and security."

India is Saudi Arabia's second largest trading partner with trade approaching $40 billion, he said.

"As we celebrate 75 years of India-Saudi Arabia diplomatic relations, we can look back with pride at the development of brotherly ties over the past several decades," said Prasad. 




Over the years, the ship has trained more than 4,000 officers including those from friendly foreign countries, visited 27 countries and has been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation. (Supplied)

Capt. Aftab welcomed officers of the Saudi naval forces as well as the diplomatic community and said it was a moment of pride to be in Jeddah. "We are committed to maritime security of our friendly nations," he said, and wished everyone Eid greetings.

He thanked Indian Defense Attache Col. G.S. Grewal and the Indian Missions in Riyadh and Jeddah for the grand welcome accorded to the ships.

INS Tir (meaning arrow) is the first dedicated cadet training ship to be built by Mazagon Dock Ltd. in Mumbai, and was commissioned on Feb. 21, 1986. It is the senior ship of the First Training Squadron of the Southern Naval Command and is equipped with all modern training amenities.

Over the years, the ship has trained more than 4,000 officers including those from friendly foreign countries, visited 27 countries and has been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation.

The ship can carry up to 293 people on board, though her typical deployment is with 20 instructors and 120 cadets. Equipped with state-of-the-art training infrastructure, and communication and gunnery suite, the ship carries a helicopter and has also taken part in anti-piracy missions in the past.

INS Sujata is an indigenously built Sukanya-class offshore patrol vessel of the Indian Navy commissioned on Nov. 3, 1993. The ship undertakes fleet support operations, humanitarian assistance missions, offshore patrolling, ocean surveillance and escort duties. A cadet training ship for the past nine years, officer cadets are exposed to practical aspects of navigation and seamanship on the vessel before moving on to complex assignments.

The Indian Coast Guard ship Sarathi (meaning charioteer) is the third in a series of six offshore patrol vessels designed and built domestically by Goa Shipyard Ltd. Commissioned on Sept. 9, 2016, the 105-meter ship is fitted with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machineries.

Its features include 30 millimeter CRN-91 naval gun, Integrated Bridge System, Integrated Machinery Control System, Power Management System and High-Power External Fire Fighting System.

The ship is designed to carry one twin-engine light helicopter and five high-speed boats, including two quick reaction inflatable boats for swift boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrols. The ship is also capable of carrying pollution response equipment to contain oil spills at sea.


The changing landscape of the Saudi design industry

The initiative aims to encourage up-and-coming designers to highlight the role of design in resolving global issues. (Supplied)
The initiative aims to encourage up-and-coming designers to highlight the role of design in resolving global issues. (Supplied)
Updated 57 min 48 sec ago

The changing landscape of the Saudi design industry

The initiative aims to encourage up-and-coming designers to highlight the role of design in resolving global issues. (Supplied)
  • Designathon competition encourages designers to consider modern challenges

RIYADH: The first Designathon competition was recently held in Riyadh, gathering 500 designers and specialists to solve key issues facing the design industry, including social impact, health and sustainability.

Organized by the Architecture and Design Commission on Feb. 2-3, it brought together local creators to compete for awards collectively worth more than SR500,000 ($133,000).

Sumayah Al-Solaiman, CEO of the commission, said: “It is the designer’s role to really advocate for not just themselves but also society and the planet. We made sure that we have that responsibility reflected within the three tracks.”

CEO of the Architecture and Design Commission, Dr. Sumayah Al-Solaiman, at the opening remarks of Desginathon's first edition launch in Riyadh. The competition brings together 500 global participants in search of solutions to wellbeing, social impact, and sustainability design challenges from Feb. 2-4. (Supplied)

Coming in first place in the wellness track was team “Sabeel,” followed by team “Mumtir” in second place, and team “Khutwah bi Khutwah” in third.

The sustainability design track’s winning teams were “Wasm” in first place, “Table Mo1” in second place, and team “Waste No More” in third place.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Coming in first place in the wellness track was team ‘Sabeel,’ followed by team ‘Mumtir’ in second place, and team ‘Khutwah bi Khutwah’ in third.

• The sustainability design track’s winning teams were ‘Wasm’ in first place, ‘Table Mo1’ in second place, and team ‘Waste No More’ in third place.

• Finally, the social impact track awarded first place to team ‘Dreams,’ second to ‘Rans Team,’ and the third winning spot to ‘Hayyak.’

Finally, the social impact track awarded first place to team “Dreams,” second to “Rans Team,” and the third winning spot to “Hayyak.”

The initiative aims to encourage up-and-coming designers to consider real-life modern design challenges that truly impact community members, create awareness around participatory design concepts, and highlight the role of design in resolving global issues. Participatory design is a cooperative method that looks at solutions that involve all stakeholders, with a focus on the procedure of design rather than the style itself.

“This time, we will be learning from everything that happens. We want to use that design methodology and hear from all the participants (regarding) their experience…and how we can improve it for next editions,” Al-Solaiman explained.

One of the participants, Huda Al-Qahtani, is a senior architecture student at Prince Sultan University who is interested in the art behind design and its role in enhancing the microclimate.

“I actually was interested in the well-being track and the social impact track. For well-being here in Saudi specifically, we don’t have any chances for walkability or cycling. It’s very hard, whether you’re considering the width of the streets or the climate,” she told Arab News.

Al-Qahtani expressed her excitement at the new initiatives that cater to the growth of the local design scene. “I feel very proud. Now I’m seeing more opportunities in Saudi than...abroad,” she said. “It’s (expanding) very fast, which makes me relieved…Even the architecture here in Saudi is gaining its identity back.”

Raghad Fathaddin, one of the sustainability track mentors, told Arab News: “What (the Designathon) is telling us all as citizens of this nation is that there (are) new ways of thinking, and that’s what we’re calling upon in order to achieve the Saudi Vision 2030 and sustainable development goals.

“I’m very impressed by the ideas I’m hearing…Our nation shouldn’t be underestimated. I’m excited for our future.”

Al-Solaiman noted the possibility of expanding on the three tracks in the future, increasing the number of participants, or even venturing into a different city.

The Designathon is one of 33 initiatives undertaken by the commission, most of which look at enhancing education and job opportunities, incentivizing the design sector, highlighting the economic value of design and content development, and fostering community engagement and support.

 


Saudi FM meets Omani counterpart in Musc

Saudi FM meets Omani counterpart in Musc
Updated 10 sec ago

Saudi FM meets Omani counterpart in Musc

Saudi FM meets Omani counterpart in Musc
  • Prince Faisal travels to Oman after talks in Kuwait

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan arrived in Muscat on Sunday.

He was met at Muscat International Airport by his Omani counterpart, Sayyid Badr Al-Busaidi, and the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Oman Abdullah Al-Enaz.

Earlier on Sunday, Prince Faisal met Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah at Bayan Palace in Kuwait City.
 


Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu delights fans in Jeddah

Kumar Sanu was the star of the show for the two-day music festival at the Equestrian Club in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Kumar Sanu was the star of the show for the two-day music festival at the Equestrian Club in Jeddah. (Supplied)
Updated 05 February 2023

Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu delights fans in Jeddah

Kumar Sanu was the star of the show for the two-day music festival at the Equestrian Club in Jeddah. (Supplied)
  • Making his first ever appearance in the Kingdom, Sanu thrilled the audience of mostly Indian expats, serving up renditions of more than 20 songs

JEDDAH: Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu wowed the crowds on Friday night as the latest celebration of Indian culture drew to a close.

Sanu was the star of the show for the two-day music festival at the Equestrian Club in Jeddah’s Al-Frosyah district, which was organized by Good Hope Events in cooperation with the General Entertainment Authority.

Making his first ever appearance in the Kingdom, Sanu thrilled the audience of mostly Indian expats, serving up renditions of more than 20 songs.

“I have been waiting to perform in Saudi Arabia and here we are in Jeddah for the first time,” he told his adoring fans from the stage.

“We have a great crowd and I am happy to see you enjoying the night.”

Also on the bill were Rachna Chopra, Biplab and Afsal, who helped ramp up the crowds with a host of Bollywood numbers.

“I am amazed by the energy that flowed from you guys,” Chopra told the crowd.

Fan Nadia Azmi, who went to the gig with friends, said: “We all are privileged to have Sanu among us in Jeddah today. We all have grown up listening to his songs since the ’80s and ’90s.

“It is wonderful to listen to him live today. I want to thank Saudi Arabia and the organizers for their efforts in making this possible.”

Junaise Babu, chairman of Good Hope Events, said the festival had been a huge success.

“It was a great feeling to see so many men, women, young and old, not only Indian expatriates but also other Asians enjoying the various musicians we brought.”

Amrina Qaiser, who introduced Sanu on stage, said: “It was an amazing experience hosting such a mega event in Jeddah for the first time.

“I felt overwhelmed and I was lucky enough to interact with the king of melody from Bollywood, Kumar Sanu.”

 


LEAP conference set to showcase Saudi Arabia’s tech and entrepreneurial ambitions

LEAP conference set to showcase Saudi Arabia’s tech and entrepreneurial ambitions
Updated 40 min 20 sec ago

LEAP conference set to showcase Saudi Arabia’s tech and entrepreneurial ambitions

LEAP conference set to showcase Saudi Arabia’s tech and entrepreneurial ambitions
  • Over 100,000 innovators, investors and experts from around the world descending on Riyadh for four-day event 
  • LEAP will be co-located with DeepFest, an AI event organized by Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence

RIYADH: Artificial intelligence, digital economy, and digital metaverses may be terms the average technology aficionado expects to hear at a conference in Seoul or Silicon Valley. This week, however, all things tech will be the talk of the town in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

From Feb. 6 to 9, over 100,000 tech innovators and leading experts will gather for the second LEAP conference, a global platform for tech professionals from around the world.

Held alongside LEAP will be DeepFest, the inaugural AI event powered by the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence. Both events demonstrate the Kingdom’s aim to take its place among the world’s most technologically advanced nations.

The Kingdom is projected to spend over $24 billion on various technologies by 2025 — the highest in the world, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

At last year’s LEAP conference, Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha announced that the country would be investing $6.4 billion in future technologies and entrepreneurship to further solidify the Kingdom’s position as the Middle East and North Africa region’s largest digital economy.

The growth of the Saudi tech industry, in line with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, is a way for the Kingdom to diversify its economy away from oil and gas revenues.

According to a 2022 Economist Intelligence report, Saudi Arabia was the world’s fastest-growing major economy in 2022, “outperforming the dynamic Asian giants of China, India, Indonesia and South Korea, as well as the struggling G7 and other major emerging economies.”

LEAP broke records last year when its inaugural conference became the world’s largest tech event ever held. This year looks to be just as big, if not bigger, than last, with top professionals in the tech industry traveling to Riyadh from across the world.

“Saudi Arabia’s recent investments in its digital economy, as well as its information and communications technology sector, helped consolidate its position as the leading information and communication technology market in the Middle East and North Africa,” Imad Abuizz, digital and technology platform Llader at the business management consultant firm PwC Middle East, told Arab News.

Since the announcement of Saudi Vision 2030 seven years ago, the Kingdom has launched a series of initiatives that emphasize technology as a tool for social and economic reform.

Strategic agendas under Vision 2030 focus on regenerating the country’s digital infrastructure to boost economic growth, knowledge and enhance daily life. To this end, Saudi Arabia has committed to an annual investment of 2.5 percent of GDP in the sectors of development, research and innovation by 2040.

The Kingdom’s technological plans are supported by SDAIA, which was launched by royal decree in August 2019.

The same year, the Saudi government launched Absher, a smartphone application which enables citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia to access a variety of government services.

“Government spending demonstrates a big focus on digitalization,” Fadi Komati, a digital government consulting leader at PwC Middle East, told Arab News. “Why the sector is moving so quickly is because the majority of the population is young and eager to move forward and advance in cutting-edge technologies.

“The government’s digital transformation and continued investment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and innovation lay the groundwork for a lot of opportunities, both for the private and public sector.”

Komati underlines how government investment in tech is “encouraging the private sector to become more mature, thus also stimulating and incentivising international companies to visit and open in Saudi Arabia.”

“The increased progress in the private tech sector within Saudi Arabia is a result of government investment in the sector,” he said.

In the same vein, Saudi tech entrepreneur Hussein Attar, CEO at private investment firm Tech Invest Com, told Arab News: “In terms of Saudi Arabia, all the giga projects being launched, such as NEOM, have placed a strong focus on technological innovation. Every giga project has a funding side that is investing in tech. Saudi Aramco also has its own investment fund for technology.”

At last year’s LEAP conference, Saudi Aramco unveiled a billion dollars’ worth of investments in developing start-ups through entrepreneurship support fund Prosperity 7 Ventures. NEOM Tech & Digital Holding Co. stated it was investing $1 billion in future technologies and launching the new M3LD AI engine as well as the XVRS digital twin metaverse.

Technological investment in Saudi Arabia is also paramount to the country’s environmental goals. In October 2022, at the sixth edition of the Future Investment Initiative, Aramco unveiled a $1.5 billion sustainability fund, one of the world’s largest sustainability-focused venture capital funds.

Recent data demonstrates the rise of Saudi Arabia as a growing global center, both regionally and internationally, in both the private and public sectors. According to the 2022 Saudi Arabia Venture Capital Report produced by Magnitt, the Kingdom was one of the emerging markets that recorded year on year growth nearing the $1 billion mark.

Saudi Arabia’s tech evolution is a way for the country to connect with the wider region and the world. AI, which was a recent focus at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is paramount to the Kingdom’s growth in the field of tech.

In September 2022, the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence announced an investment of $776 million in a joint venture with China’s SenseTime to develop the AI ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.

A scene from LEAP 2022. (File photo Supplied)

“The Kingdom’s advanced technological infrastructure, high-caliber developments in the field of AI, and high standards designed by government authorities encourage AI businesses to plug in and grow in a regionally leading market,” Dr. Turki Almugaiteeb, a Saudi expert in technological development and innovation, told Arab News.

Saudi Arabia has also signed a number of partnerships with global AI providers to find practical solutions to everyday problems, Komati said, adding: “AI is very high on the agenda in Saudi Arabia because it is considered a mechanism by which technology can provide much bigger benefits.”

Technological investment and the Kingdom’s numerous avenues being explored for technological growth and innovation are also about education and offering a better life for its citizens, residents, and all visitors to Saudi Arabia.

In the words of Almugaiteeb, the key ingredients in Saudi Arabia’s rise to tech giant status are “the great human resources being developed in the Kingdom, combined with educated young Saudis in the field, many of whom have gained experience abroad.”

 


KSA, Oman to support digital economy growth

Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Al-Swaha and Oman's Said bin Hamoud Al-Ma'awali (unseen) were present at the signing ceremony. (SPA)
Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Al-Swaha and Oman's Said bin Hamoud Al-Ma'awali (unseen) were present at the signing ceremony. (SPA)
Updated 4 min 16 sec ago

KSA, Oman to support digital economy growth

Saudi Arabia's Abdullah Al-Swaha and Oman's Said bin Hamoud Al-Ma'awali (unseen) were present at the signing ceremony. (SPA)
  • The agreements signed at the forum underscore the long-standing partnership between Saudi Arabia and Oman, which has accelerated in recent years with several high-level engagements

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Oman have signed an executive program in the field of communications, information technology infrastructure and undersea cable investments.

The agreement was signed between the Kingdom’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Oman’s Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology in the presence of Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Al-Swaha and Oman’s Said bin Hamoud Al-Ma’awali.

“The program aims to exploit the geographical location of the two countries and promote investment in the submarine and terrestrial cables that pass through them,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It will create a common work environment to enhance cooperation in the field of infrastructure for communications and information technology services, and high-speed digital interconnection for data exchange.

The executive program also aims to develop options for implementing regional digital connectivity through investment entities and licensed companies, and to expand investment in global data centers and cloud services that target a regional presence to maximize benefit for the region.

Held in Riyadh on Feb. 1, the Saudi-Oman Investment Forum and exhibition discussed various ways and means to enhance the long-term economic partnership between the two Gulf states in the investment and industry sectors.

The Saudi Ministry of Investment hosted a senior delegation from Oman, which culminated in the signing of 13 memorandums of understanding in various sectors, including biochemicals, energy, mining, financial investment, logistics, maritime transport and information technology, among others.

The agreements signed at the forum underscore the long-standing partnership between Saudi Arabia and Oman, which has accelerated in recent years with several high-level engagements.

The four-day exhibition highlighted the strong economic relationship between the two nations across several sectors and showcased products and services from small and medium enterprises, including businesses from both sides, to stimulate opportunities for investment.