November 8, 2010 4:01:14 am
One of the most silent and understated positive outcomes of the India-US strategic partnership is the friendly nudge from Washington to New Delhi and Riyadh to join hands against global terrorism and increase defence and security cooperation.
Four years after King Abdullah visited India in January 2006,the Indian Army will hold joint exercises with the Royal Saudi Land Force in that country in March next year. New Delhi has also agreed to build a mountain warfare school to enhance the fighting capability of Riyadh against non-state players.
While the India-Saudi Arabia relationship is shrouded in secrecy due to interests inimical to both countries,New Delhi and Riyadh have broadened bilateral intelligence sharing,with high-level visits from both sides to bolster cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
A far cry from the 1980s and 90s,Saudi Arabia is committed to not allowing shelter to any fugitives from Indian justice or tolerating any anti-India activity.
After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a historic three-day visit to Riyadh this January,Intelligence Bureau Director Rajiv Mathur was in Saudi Arabia last month to strengthen intelligence sharing with his counterparts.
Saudi Arabias former intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud is expected to visit India next March and interact with the Indian leadership.
Prince Turki,nephew of King Abdullah who heads an influential think tank in Riyadh,was the force behind the Afghan resistance against Soviet occupation in the late 1980s.
The message from Riyadh is clear: that its bilateral relationship with India is independent and not influenced by its ties with other countries such as Pakistan.
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