India and Saudi Arabia are all set to conduct their first-ever naval exercise, in reflection of their growing defence and military cooperation, officials said on Tuesday.
Indian Navy’s guided-missile destroyer INS Kochi reached Saudi Arabia on Monday for the “Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021” exercise.
The warship went to Saudi Arabia after carrying out a naval exercise with the UAE Navy off the coast of Abu Dhabi on Saturday, they said.
The harbour phase of the “Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021” exercise began on Monday while the sea-based drills are taking place from Wednesday
On its arrival at the Jubail port, the ship was given a warm welcome by officials of the Royal Saudi naval forces.
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 over a week back.
The UK and the US pointed fingers at Iran for the attack on MV Mercer Street, operated by an Israeli-owned firm. Tehran has already rejected the charges.
In December last year, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia in a first-ever visit by a head of the Indian Army to the two important Gulf countries.