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India, Saudi Arabia To Discuss Joint Weapon Projects

India and Saudi Arabia will explore the joint development and production of weapons and equipment to control rising imports. This decis...

India and Saudi Arabia will explore the joint development and production of weapons and equipment to control rising imports.

This decision followed Feb. 14 discussions in Riyadh between visiting Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman Bin, said sources in the Indian Defence Ministry.

Antony led an official two-day visit to Saudi Arabia Feb. 13-14, heading a defense team that included
Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma; Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh, the Army vice chief; and Vice Adm. Satish Soni, the deputy Navy chief

An Indian Defence Ministry official said India and Saudi Arabia have decided to set up a panel to work out the path to defense cooperation.

“At the delegation-level talks, India and Saudi Arabia decided to set up a Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation to work out the contours of the relationship,” said Sitanshu Kar, a spokesman with the Defence Ministry.

India meets up to 70 percent of its weapon and equipment requirements through imports, and defense planners want to reduce that to less than 50 percent. India plans to spend about $100 billion on weapons and equipment during the next five years.

While no details on the proposed joint weapon development with Saudi Arabia are known, sources said the two countries have agreed in principle to boost joint ventures.

Antony and Salman Bin agreed to establish a joint committee to work out the details of future defense cooperation, including an agreement in the defense sector, said another Defence Ministry official.

Salman Bin agreed with Antony’s suggestion that a Saudi delegation visit Indian defense production facilities in the near future, the official said.

Currently, India is studying a Saudi proposal to set up a mountain warfare training school in Saudi Arabia.




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