NEW DELHI Feb 20: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — known as MBS for short — arrived in India on Tuesday after visiting Pakistan.
The crown prince was welcomed at the airport by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who embraced him in a characteristic bear hug.
MBS is expected to make an effort to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan. Following a militant attack in India-occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama area last week, tensions between India and Pakistan are once again running high.
Over 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed in the attack, which has been claimed by the Jaish-e-Mohammad, a proscribed organisation.
India has alleged that those who planned the attacks had links with the Pakistani state — a charge that Pakistan has vigorously denied.
Shortly after the attack, the Pakistan Foreign Office had condemned the attack, saying that it was “a matter of grave concern”.
Ties between India and Saudi Arabia, where millions of Indians are employed as migrant workers, have strengthened since Modi visited Riyadh in 2016 for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation with intelligence-gathering on money laundering and terrorism financing.
Other agreements are expected to be signed Wednesday in investment, tourism, housing and communications.
The two countries’ two-way trade totalled $27.5 billion last year.