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Opinion

India’s reach in West Asia: Army chief Naravane to visit Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

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Indian Army Chief Manoj Mukund Naravane will begin his four-day visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Sunday. The visit is being seen as a testament to New Delhi’s commitment to strengthening ties between India and the Gulf countries. While Naravane’s visit to Saudi Arabia is the first such visit by an Indian army chief, his visit to the United Arab Emirates comes shortly after a visit by Foreign Minister S Jaishankar to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. United during the 24th and 26th of November.

Here’s everything you need to know about your army chief MM Naravane’s visit:

1. This visit will be Naravane’s third trip abroad this year during which he will meet with his counterparts and other senior officials in these countries. Naravane will first travel to Saudi Arabia, where his commitments will include an address at the Saudi National Defense College. He will then travel to the United Arab Emirates, whose defense ties with India have expanded in recent years.

2. Both West Asian countries are home to the majority of the nine million Indian expatriates in the region.

3. The visits are seen as part of India’s rapprochement with West Asia, which New Delhi considers part of its “expanded neighborhood”. This approach has dramatically expanded cooperation on security and defense, especially against terrorism, in recent years.

Read more | Army Chief’s Visit to Saudi Arabia, UAE Indicates India’s Intention to Boost Security Cooperation, Experts Say

4. The visit takes place in the context of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan normalizing relations with Israel and Iran’s efforts to position itself as a key player in Western Asia. India has welcomed the normalization of ties between Arab states and has said that such moves are in line with its efforts to support peace and development in West Asia.

5. The upswing in ties between India and the Gulf countries also comes amid a cooling of ties between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. In August, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed dissatisfaction with Saudi Arabia, once a strong ally of Pakistan, for not convening a special meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on the issue of Kashmir. .

6. Enraged by this, Saudi Arabia recently requested early repayment of a $ 3 billion loan made to Pakistan in 2018. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan then attempted to forge a new grouping of Islamic countries with Turkey and Malaysia, a move that further annoyed Riad.

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