Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia: Focus on enhancing military cooperation

Modi-King Salman

Seeking to impart greater momentum to India’s ‘Think West’ policy and multifarious ties with Saudi Arabia, home to around 7 million strong Indian diaspora, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will prioritize enhancing maritime security and military cooperation during his visit to Riyadh early April.  The two countries will be looking to buttress strategic geopolitical and defence ties. India has already indicated that it is interested in carrying out joint naval exercise. India and Saudi Arabia are currently facing security and terrorism challenges, which should encourage greater security cooperation.

The two crucial pacts signed by India and Saudi Arabia, the Delhi declaration in 2006 and the Riyadh declaration in 2010,  have helped both the countries to prepare a roadmap for greater security, intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism cooperation. In 2014, India and Saudi Arabia inked a Memorandum of Understanding on defence cooperation to exchange of strategic information, military training and cooperation in security to logistics.

Both countries regularly exchange high level delegations with a view to enhance cooperation between the two armed forces. 

Around 2.5 million Indians are working in Saudi Arabia and about 7 million in the larger Gulf region. India imports almost 80% of its oil requirement and a large share come from Saudi Arabia. It is also one of India’s biggest markets.