Trade, economy, defence, and cultural cooperation are the main topics of discussion between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud during the latter’s State visit today.
The Saudi Crown Prince arrived in Delhi for a three-day tour which began with the G20 Summit in the national capital.
During the high-profile meeting today at Delhi’s Hyderabad House, the two leaders will co-chair the First Leaders’ Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council, a bilateral agreement between India and Saudi Arabia signed by the two nations in Riyadh in 2019.
The leaders will assess the progress of the two ministerial committees of the Strategic Partnership Council, namely the Political, Security, Social and Cultural Cooperation Committee and the Economy and Investments Cooperation Committee. They will also discuss all aspects of bilateral relations, including political, security, defence, trade, economy, culture, and people-to-people ties. Additionally, they will discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest, a government release stated.
India and Saudi Arabia have a long history of cordial and cooperative relations, with extensive people-to-people ties. According to government data, bilateral trade between the two countries reached an all-time high of USD 52.75 billion in fiscal year 2022-23.
PM Modi during his 2019 visit to Riyadh had said that India and Saudi Arabia have a Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC) that meets regularly and that the two countries have identified a number of areas of mutual interest and cooperation in the field of defence and security.
The two economic powerhouses are also major trading partners. India is Saudi Arabia’s second-largest trading partner, while Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth-largest. The two countries have a strong partnership in the energy sector, with India importing a significant amount of oil from Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince will be accorded a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan at 10 am, ahead of his meeting with PM Modi at 11 am.
After concluding his engagements with PM Modi and other dignitaries, Prince Salman will meet President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan at 6:30 PM before departing from New Delhi at 8:30 PM.
This is Prince Salman’s second State visit to India.
During the two-day G20 Summit in New Delhi, Saudi Arabia was one of the signatories to the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor.
The initiative, seen by many as a potential alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, was jointly announced by PM Modi and the leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union on the sidelines of the G20 summit.
Once completed, the project can serve as a modern-day Silk Road that functioned as the central trade route facilitating economic partnerships, political alliances, and cultural integration across continents.
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