India and Saudi Arabia are conducting their first-ever naval exercise, in reflection of their growing defence and military cooperation.
About the exercise:
- The exercise is taking place amid rising tension in the Gulf region after a drone attack on a merchant tanker off Oman killed a British national and a Romanian citizen.
- The UK and the US pointed fingers at Iran for the attack on MV Mercer Street, operated by an Israeli-owned firm.
- In December 2020, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a first-ever visit ahead of the Indian Army to the two important Gulf countries.
- This is the first edition of a bilateral naval exercise between India and Saudi Arabia.
- It comprises several shore and sea-based drills between the two navies.
- It reflects the growing defense ties between the two nations in the wake of the Indian Army chiefs’ first visit to the West Asian country last year.
- INS Kochi is the Indian warship participating in the exercise.