Riyadh. In a move aimed at boosting Indo-Saudi relations in Defence cooperation, Saudi Arabia has decided to collaborate with India for procurement and manufacture of defence equipment under the newly-formed Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC).
“Saudi Arabia is looking at collaboration with India on defence in terms of procurement and joint production … The talks have been going on for greater defence cooperation and expansion of ties between the two nations for the past six months,” a top Indian official said.
The Saudis, the official said, are interested in procuring small arms, military vehicles, radars and other items from India. New Delhi and Riyadh will also, for the first time, hold joint naval exercises — expected to take place in the Gulf region — in March 2020. A preliminary meeting on this will be held in December this year.
The newly-constituted JCDC had recently met, with Indian companies such as Ashok Leyland, Bharat Forge and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) participating in the discussion.
“The Saudi have found traction in what India is manufacturing and what they want to buy,” the official added.
New Delhi and Riyadh had earlier decided to join hands for defence procurement and manufacture when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited India in February this year.
The Kingdom’s latest decision also comes at a crucial time when it is entangled in wars that are taking place in Syria and Yemen, even as its relationship with Iran has soured in the past couple of months.