AS SAUDI Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives in India on a two-day visit on Tuesday, New Delhi and Riyadh will set up a “Strategic Partnership Council” at the ministerial level to deepen partnership in areas like political, security, trade, investment and culture.
After the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince on Wednesday, the two sides are also expected to sign pacts in areas of investment, tourism, housing and information & broadcasting.
Both sides are also exploring the possibility of elevating the defence engagement with joint production and joint exercises, particularly joint naval exercises.
With the visit taking place in the backdrop of Pulwama terrorist attack last week and the Crown Prince’s visit to Pakistan over last two days, the Ministry of External Affair’s secretary (economic relations) T S Tirumurti, who handles the ties with the country, said that the Kingdom has shown “greater understanding” of India’s terrorism-related concerns and has also agreed to work with us in countering this global menace.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced the terrorist attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14. We appreciate Saudi’s cooperation in security and counter terrorism areas over the years. During PM Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 2016, an MoU on cooperation in exchange of intelligence related to money laundering and terrorism financing was signed. Saudi has shown understanding of our terrorism-related concerns and also agreed to work with India in countering this global menace,” Tirumurti said on Monday.
India has been identified as one of the eight strategic partners with whom Saudi Arabia intends to deepen partnership in areas of political, security, trade, investment and culture.
The cooperation in defence will continue to be an important area of bilateral ties. “MoU on Defence Cooperation was signed in 2014 during the visit of the then Crown Prince Salman, the present King. Both sides are exploring the possibility of elevating this engagement with Joint Production and Joint Exercises, particularly Joint Naval exercises,” Tirumurti said.