Against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia’s cautious response to the Jammu and Kashmir situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit the Arab country next week. This will be his second visit to Riyadh, almost three-and-a-half years after his visit in April 2016.
Sources said the Prime Minister will visit Riyadh on October 29, where he will address the Future Investment Initiative, to be held from October 29 to 31. An official announcement is expected soon, sources said.
Modi will meet Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during the visit and is likely to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues of global importance.
Delhi makes a point about its outreach
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia comes after almost three months after the August 5 move on Jammu and Kashmir. Modi had gone to the UAE in August. Now, by going to Saudi Arabia, Delhi is making a point about its outreach to Pakistan’s close allies.
Recently, NSA Ajit Doval travelled to Riyadh and met the Saudi Crown Prince to enlist Saudi Arabia’s support for blacklisting Pakistan at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF plenary session and working group meetings took place from October 13 to 18, where Pakistan was given time till February 2020 to fulfill its commitments.
Sources said India’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been on the rise in the last few years, beginning with Modi’s visit in 2016.
Saudi Arabia has not taken any adverse position on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. After August 5, a Saudi statement had said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is “following up the current situation in Jammu and Kashmir resulting from India’s abolition of Article 370 of the Constitution, which guarantees the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“While expressing its concern over the latest developments, the Kingdom affirms that the settlement of the conflict is through peaceful settlement in accordance with the relevant international resolutions, and calls on the parties concerned to maintain peace and stability in the region and to take into account the interests of the people of the region,” the statement had said.
While Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan visited Saudi Arabia on his way to New York and went on a plane given by the Saudis, Riyadh has been careful in not making any negative statements on Jammu & Kashmir.
Sources said Saudi Arabia and India have been closely cooperating with each other in fighting terrorism, including through exchange of information. In the last couple of years, both countries have signed several agreements in the field of security, including an extradition treaty.
India had condemned the recent drone and missile attacks on the oil facilities of Saudi Aramco, the country’s national petroleum company.
The Future Investment Initiative (FII) the Prime Minister will participate in is a Saudi Arabian initiative to provide international platform for expert-led debate between global leaders, investors and innovators with the power to shape the future of global investment. “It is focused on utilizing investment to drive growth opportunities, enable innovation and disruptive technologies, and address global challenges,” the FII website said.