Riyadh: Observing that the current situation
in the Gulf region was a cause for "great concern" for India,
Defence Minister AK Antony on Tuesday hoped that the crisis there
will be resolved through peaceful dialogue.
The Defence Minister, who is on a two-day visit here,
said the Gulf region has an "immense importance" in the Indian
foreign policy as it provides more than half of country`s
total crude oil imports.
"The current situation in the Gulf region is a cause for
great concern for India and we hope that the crisis in the
region will be resolved through peaceful dialogue," Antony
His comments came against the backdrop of EU and US
sanctions on Iran`s oil export over Tehran`s controversial
Soon after landing, the Indian Defence Minister held a
meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud here
In the 30-minute meeting, the two leaders expressed
satisfaction that both countries are pursuing cooperation in
pursuit of the strategic partnership, especially in security,
defence, economic and political fields, Indian Defence
Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said.
King Abdullah offered all assistance to New Delhi,
including additional supply of crude oil if it required the
For his meetings scheduled with Princes Salman and Khalid
today, Antony hoped that his discussions with them will lead
to specific initiatives to deepen the defence exchanges to the
benefit of both the countries.
He expressed confidence that his visit will give a "new
substance and direction" to Indo-Saudi defence ties and said,
"this constitutes an important component of the emerging
strategic partnership between the two countries".