PM Modi greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at Delhi airport with a hug

Saudi has made a very strong denouncement of Pulwama terror attack and did not accept Pakistan's narrative.

Published: 19th February 2019 09:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2019 12:13 AM   |  A+A-


PM Modi greeting the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi on 19 February 2019. (Photo | PTI)

By Agencies

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday evening and was warmly received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport. 

Modi hugged the visiting Crown Prince with a hug as soon as he got off his plane. In a tweet, Modi said India is "delighted to welcome" the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

The Crown Prince arrived here on a less than 30-hour visit, a day after concluding his high-profile tour of Pakistan where he said dialogue was the only way to resolve "outstanding issues" between India and Pakistan. 

The Prime Minister and MBS, as the Saudi Crown Prince is also known, will hold bilateral talks tomorrow, during which terrorism is expected to figure prominently, particularly in the backdrop of the Pulwama attack.

READ HERE | Why Saudi Crown Prince's visit is important for India and Modi

India is likely to raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and the two countries are expected to sign ties to enhance cooperation in various fields during the "landmark event in high-level bilateral ties".

Other issues likely to figure in the talks include defence and security. The two sides are expected to sign five MoUs in fields ranging from defence, healthcare etc.

According a warm welcome, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday not only received the Crown Prince at the airport in Islamabad but also drove him to PM house.

During their talks on Wednesday, Modi and Salman are also expected to look at ways to enhancing defence ties, including having a joint naval exercise, official sources said.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the Crown Prince will leave New Delhi around 11:50 PM on Wednesday.

His visit comes in the backdrop of the escalating tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror group in which 40 CRPF were killed.

In a joint statement, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Monday called for avoiding "politicisation" of the UN listing regime at a time when India was stepping up efforts to brand the JeM terror group's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

The joint statement said the Saudi Crown Prince stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve "outstanding issues" between India and Pakistan.

READ HERE |  Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman's charm offensive

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said in Islamabad Riyadh will try to "de-escalate" tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack.

According to the External Affairs Ministry, the talks on investment of US $44 billion by Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in Ratnagiri Refinery project are also likely to take place.

"Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visit to India will be a landmark event in the history of our high-level bilateral engagements and they will certainly take an upward strategic direction,” Arab News quoted Indian ambassador in Riyadh Ahmad Javed as saying.

In addition, there is a big transformation in Saudi understanding of terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir in the last few years. Saudi made a very strong denouncement of Pulwama terror attack and did not accept Pakistan's narrative.

India and Saudi Arabia are also expected to hold joint Naval exercises in the near future in efforts to deepen the defence ties.

Recently, Saudi Arabia has ranked India as the 8th strategic partner. Bilateral trade between the countries stood at US$ 27.48 billion during the last financial year 2017-18.

India and Saudi Arabia have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations anchored in mutually beneficial partnership and extensive people to people contacts. In recent years, there has been significant progress in bilateral cooperation in key areas of mutual interest, including energy security, trade and investment, infrastructure, defence and security.

READ HERE | Ahead of Crown Prince's visit, Saudi-Pakistan joint statement causes unease in Delhi

About 2.7 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage to over 1,75,000 Indians every year.

The Saudi Crown Prince has embarked on a four-country Asian tour that besides India, also includes Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia. He recently concluded his Pakistan visit.

(With PTI and ANI inputs)

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  • G srinivas

    felt very very pained insulted because it is 100% universal truth SAudi arabia fiance the terrorists in India and other nations
    11 months ago reply
  • The Facts

    What cooperation do we expect from such historically rough region
    11 months ago reply
  • Sheik Chilli

    Prince knows only peace and harmony. So knidly hold talks on these only.
    11 months ago reply
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