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.

Published: 26th February 2014 09:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2014 09:11 AM   |  A+A-

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.

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