India, Saudi agree on need for increasing pressure on countries backing terror: PM Modi

Without mentioning Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman agreed that eliminating the infrastructure of terrorism was important to punish terrorists and their supporters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday (Express Photo: Prem Nath Pandey)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Wednesday agreed to tackle the menace of terrorism and increase pressure on countries supporting it. Without mentioning Pakistan, the two leaders concurred that eliminating the infrastructure of terrorism was important to punish terrorists and their supporters.

Addressing a press conference after bilateral talks, PM Modi said, “The barbaric terrorist attack in Pulwama last week is another cruel sign of the world from the anti-humanity threat. To tackle this menace effectively, we agree that there is a need to increase all possible pressures on countries supporting terrorism in any way.”

Mohammed Bin Salman, or MBS as he is popularly called, said terrorism and extremism are a common threat to both countries, adding that Riyadh will cooperate with New Delhi on every aspect, including intelligence sharing. ALSO READ | Why Saudi Arabia matters to India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Saudi Prince at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi on Wednesday (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

The joint statement comes days after the Saudi Prince visited Pakistan and held talks with its Prime Minister, Imran Khan. India is trying to isolate Pakistan on an international level for harbouring terrorists, including the Jaish-e-Mohammed, which claimed responsibility for the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. The government said it has “incontrovertible evidence” of Pakistan’s involvement in the attack.

India and Saudi signed five agreements Wednesday to increase investment, tourism, housing and information and broadcasting. The countries also decided to expand cooperation in the defence sector.

Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was accorded a ceremonial reception in New Delhi Wednesday. (Express Photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

PM Modi and the Crown Prince last met in November 2018 on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires. PM Modi had also visited Saudi in April 2016 and met MBS. He was the Deputy Crown Prince at the time.

After the talks, PM Modi said, “Today, in the 21st century, Saudi Arabia is among the most valuable strategic partners in India. It is in our spacious neighbourhood, is a close friend and is also an important source of India’s energy security.

“The economic, social and cultural links of India and Saudi Arabia are centuries old. And it is always conducive and friendly. The close and close contact between our peoples is a living bridge for our countries Living Bridge,” he added.

After he was given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the crown prince shed light on historical linkages between the two countries and stressed on expanding the ties further. “The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA….Today, we want to be ensured that the relationship is maintained and improved for sake of both the countries and with the leadership of Mr President and the Prime Minister, we can create good things for both the countries,” he told reporters. He also talked about the contribution of lakhs of Indians in the overall development of Saudi Arabia.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the crown prince will leave New Delhi around 11.50 pm on Wednesday.

With PTI inputs