Indian navy chief welcomes Saudi cadets during first joint training

Cadets of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces receive training onboard an Indian Navy ship off the coast of Kochi, Kerala, in May 2023. (Indian Navy)
Cadets of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces receive training onboard an Indian Navy ship off the coast of Kochi, Kerala, in May 2023. (Indian Navy)
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Updated 02 June 2023
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Indian navy chief welcomes Saudi cadets during first joint training

Cadets of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces receive training onboard an Indian Navy ship off the coast of Kochi, Kerala, in May 2023.
  • Trainees from King Fahd Naval Academy are India for three-week operation
  • Program is first such collaboration between the two nations

NEW DELHI: India’s navy chief said on Friday that training of Saudi naval personnel by Indian forces was testimony to the growing relationship between the two countries.
Adm. R. Hari Kumar was speaking after welcoming Saudi cadets training on board two Indian naval vessels.
Fifty-five students and five instructors from the King Fahd Naval Academy have been in India since May 18 for a three-week course with the Southern Naval Command in Kochi, Kerala.

The students, all from the main naval academy of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, are attached to India’s First Training Squadron ships INS Tir and INS Sujata.
For most of the students the course is their first experience on board a warship.
“The cadets have completed 10 days at sea aboard the Indian naval ships. During the sea sorties, they were exposed to rigorous training on practical aspects of navigation and seamanship with emphasis on navigation in pilotage waters, anchoring, coastal navigation, replenishment at sea, sea boats, firefighting and emergency drills,” the Indian Ministry of Defense said in a statement after the cadets’ meeting with Kumar.
“The directing staff expressed their appreciation of the high-quality training and exposure that they received on board the IN ships. In his address, the CNS welcomed the RSNF delegation in India, and reaffirmed that the maiden training of Saudi cadets by the Indian Navy as testimony to the growing friendship between Saudi Arabia and India, and also the two navies.”
The navy chief also voiced his appreciation for Saudi assistance in the recent evacuation of 3,000 Indian nationals from war-torn Sudan and acknowledged the increasingly strong defense ties with the Kingdom.
Experts, too, acknowledge the growing importance of India’s security relations with Saudi Arabia.
“It’s a significant gesture by the Indian naval chief,” defense expert Ranjit Kumar told Arab News.
“India seems to be taking special care of the evolving defense cooperation and partnership with a major Gulf country. India considers this relationship very important to groom in view of changing geopolitical dynamics in West Asia.”
Muddassir Quamar, a Middle East expert and associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, said there have also been efforts to develop cooperation in nonconventional defense areas, as well as the defense industry.
“The military-to-military ties are likely to develop further, with greater efforts toward interoperability and understanding each other’s security concerns,” he told Arab News.
“Both India and Saudi Arabia are G20 economies and important international actors, and greater security bodes well for security in the western Indian Ocean region.”

 

 


Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season
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Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

Saudi Railways announces increased seating capacity of Haramain High-Speed Train for Hajj season

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia Railways on Wednesday announced the readiness of the Haramain High-Speed Railway to receive pilgrims for this year’s Hajj season and said it has increased the number of available seats by about 100,000.

SAR revealed its operational plan for the season at its five stations linking Makkah to Madinah, bringing the total number of seats to 1.6 million, up from more than a 1.3 million seating capacity last year, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
 
The 453-kilometer railway passes through the main Jeddah station in the Sulaymaniyah district, King Abdulaziz Airport station in Jeddah, and King Abdullah Economic City.
 
“This expansion also considers the addition of more than 430 new trips to last year’s trips, raising the number of trips scheduled in the operational plan for this year to more than 3,800” from May 9 to June 25, while the numbers of trips on peak days will be 126, SPA said.
 
The Haramain High-Speed Railway train ranks among the 10 fastest electric trains globally. It reaches 300 km per hour, and operates a fleet of 35 trains, with a capacity of 417 seats per train. It functions based on an environment-friendly system and zero carbon emissions, and plays an important role in preserving roads’ infrastructure by reducing road traffic.


Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims

Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims
Updated 29 May 2024
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Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims

Islamic Ministry unites volunteers to serve pilgrims
  • The initiative is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to promote a culture of volunteering within communities

MAKKAH: Almost 5,000 people are set to volunteer for programs launched by the Makkah arm of the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The branch has launched 247 opportunities via its volunteering platform to coincide with the start of the Hajj season. These include distributing more than 235,000 water bottles at 3,850 mosques, providing umbrellas to pilgrims for protection against the sun, distributing booklets and providing meals.

The initiative is part of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to promote a culture of volunteering within communities.

Earlier, the Presidency of Religious Affairs at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque launched its operational plan for Hajj, promoting voluntary and humanitarian work.

It recognizes the Two Holy Mosques as attractive environments for such efforts, based on religious and Saudi values that highlight the importance of generosity and hospitality.


Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh
Updated 29 May 2024
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Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Al-Jubeir meets US, Costa Rica officials in Riyadh

Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and climate envoy Adel Al-Jubeir met Robert Karem, national security adviser to US Senator Mitch McConnell, on Wednesday in Riyadh.

In a separate meeting, Al-Jubeir met Costa Rica’s non-resident ambassador to the Kingdom, Francisco Chacon Hernandez.

The talks in both meetings centered on bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual interest.


Global artists contemplate the future at Riyadh exhibition

Global artists contemplate the future at Riyadh exhibition
Updated 29 May 2024
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Global artists contemplate the future at Riyadh exhibition

Global artists contemplate the future at Riyadh exhibition
  • ‘Unfolding the Embassy’ contemplates humanity’s impact on the world

RIYADH: Fenaa Alawwal kicked off its most recent exhibition, “Unfolding the Embassy,” bringing together global artists to speculate on the looming future.

With scenography presented by Studio GGSV, the exhibition was curated by Sara Al-Mutlaq, whose initial instinct was to respond to the exhibition’s context.

Al-Mutlaq told Arab News: “The context is the Diplomatic Quarter and embassies … We ask: What is the future of the embassy?

“The moment that we’re living in today is witnessing a lot of changes. We feel it in technology, ChatGPT, the Ukraine war — there are a lot of things that are changing.”

As visitors enter the space, they are teleported to the year 2040. A SpaceX satellite orbiting the globe is the new reality, complete with a reception area, books, and brochures. Visitors soon realize that the decorative pieces around them are the artworks themselves.

As the story unfolds, they are left to wonder: What has happened to Earth?

The global experience was important for the curator; only artists of diverse backgrounds and practices could do justice to this collective narrative. Artists from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Palestine, Bosnia, Zambia, and Belgium are taking part in the exhibition, presenting their vision and interpretation of the future through works that address important contemporary issues, such as climate change, artificial intelligence, migration, and identity.

“I really wanted to engage with Saudi creatives and artists, but also Arab artists … and to always include the rest of the world and look at the nuances of conversation that they’re also creating,” Al-Mutlaq explained.  

Saudi artist Ahaad Al-Amoudi’s “Frying Pan” video installation looks at the past to study the future, creating a place where memory is lost, readapted, and reinterpreted.

In an ever-changing world, the video questions the role of memory, the tools of navigation, and whether humans will be able to envision a future when the present is a disintegrating past.

Egyptian graphic designer and artist Ahmad Hammoud presents two complementary works: “Flag of the Stateless” and “Passport of the Stateless.” Using the common housefly as an emblem for the 10 million stateless individuals worldwide, the works contrast two “unwanted” elements, creating a sense of ownership and symbolizing strength and resistance to Western colonial views.

The exhibition also showcases a photography anthology created using images by Dia Murad, Naif Al-Quba, Federico Acciardi, and Peter Bogaczewicz.

The digital works by Bogaczewicz, a photographer with a background in architecture, are part of his larger series titled “Surface Tensions,” which focuses on how the natural and built environments come together in Saudi Arabia.

His selection includes captures of a car buried in sand dunes and an abandoned Ferris wheel amid construction, subtly reflecting the influence of his architectural background.

He told Arab News: “I think there’s an idea of Anthropocene being a theme of the exhibit. I think the way these photos fall into it is because they address a state of the man-made or man-altered environment. That is something completely unnatural and unique of our time. It’s probably something that can’t be reversed so purely … Natural environments are harder and harder to come by and that’s just a present fact of being on our planet.”

Visitors can also explore the fate of humanity in the context of climate change, shifting political structures, economic challenges, and AI’s subversive interventions in human life.

Adopting a forward-looking approach, the exhibition raises a challenging question: Do humans need the distance of light years to better see what is near?

Al-Mutlaq said: “At its essence, the exhibition is a fictional time-space that highlights the fictional attributes of our economic, collective and technological worlds. In exploring the role of fiction, the exhibition and its artists ask: At the depth of truth, do we find the landscape of the arbitrary?”

The exhibition, running until Sept. 1, also features works from Dima Srouji, Abbas Zahedi, Aseel Al-Yaqoub, Nolan Oswald Dennis, Jerry Galle, PHI Studio, and Lana Cmajcanin.


Saudi envoy presents credentials as non-resident ambassador to Bolivia

Faisal bin Ibrahim Ghulam presents his credentials as Saudi Arabia’s non-resident ambassador to Bolivia. (SPA)
Faisal bin Ibrahim Ghulam presents his credentials as Saudi Arabia’s non-resident ambassador to Bolivia. (SPA)
Updated 29 May 2024
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Saudi envoy presents credentials as non-resident ambassador to Bolivia

Faisal bin Ibrahim Ghulam presents his credentials as Saudi Arabia’s non-resident ambassador to Bolivia. (SPA)

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Brazil Faisal bin Ibrahim Ghulam presented his credentials as non-resident ambassador to Bolivia, Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday. 

The credentials were presented to Bolivia’s President Luis Arce.

Ghulam conveyed the greetings of the Saudi leadership and its wishes for the continued progress and prosperity of Bolivia.