Crown Prince’s Visit To India A “Historic Opportunity”, Saudi Envoy Says

Monday 18 February 2019 2:01 AM UTC

NEW DELHI Feb 18: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India is a “historic opportunity” to expand collaboration in all sectors, the Gulf nation’s envoy said in New Delhi.

Prince Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia’s defence minister, will arrive in India on Tuesday, on his first official visit.

Cooperation in combating terrorism is likely to figure high on the agenda of his talks in New Delhi, since his visit comes after a deadly attack on CRPF forces in Pulwama by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Saudi Arabia had strongly condemned and the attack and said it firmly stands by India.

Besides holding talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prince Salman will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu during his two-day visit.

“Saudi Arabia and India share age-old ties of friendship. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India is highly anticipated and presents a historic opportunity to expand collaboration between our two friendly countries in all fields,” Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to India Saud Mohammad Al Sati said.

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest business partner, with bilateral trade being estimated at $28 billion. About 20 per cent of India’s crude oil supply comes from Saudi Arabia.

Recently, Saudi ARAMCO, in partnership with ADNOC of the UAE, entered into a $44 billion joint venture for the Ratnagiri refinery and a petrochemical project.

Saudi Arabia also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage of over 1,75,000 Indians every year.

The visit by Prince Salman follows PM Modi’s trip to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, during which the two sides had agreed to improve their existing strategic partnership.

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