Saudi Crown Prince, Iranian Foreign Minister to Visit India
India will literally perform a delicate balancing act between the Muslim world’s two leading powers, with the Saudi Arabian crown prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Iranian Foreign Minister Javed Zarif set to arrive in the country within 24 hours of each other.
While Al Saud,78, is scheduled to arrive here on Wednesday noon and return on Friday, Zarif is expected to fly down to the country on Thursday. Interestingly, the mainly Sunni Riyadh and Tehran-- which is the largest Shia nation in the world-- don’t see eye to eye on the internal strife in Syria as well as several intractable issues in West Asia.
The Saudi heir apparent’s visit will witness the signing of the bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement, which will herald a new dawn in New Delhi’s ties with Riyadh. And the defence pact will be signed in the presence of Al Saud, who is also the desert kingdom’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, and Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
However, there will no agreements when the Iranian Foreign Minister is around, but it is highly significant since it will be the first trip by a member of Islamic Republic’s new Cabinet, which took over after Mahmoud Ahmedinejad stepped down as President. He had met his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting last week.