Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold delegation-level talks with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Abdulaziz Al-Saud at Hyderabad House Wednesday. Sources said that “cross-border terrorism” is expected to dominate the conversation between the two leaders.
Salman was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan at 10 am where he met President Ramnath Kovind alongside PM Modi. The Crown Prince will then hold a brief meeting with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
At 12 pm, Salman will join PM Modi for delegation-level talks between the two countries. The sides are expected to sign five MoUs/agreements in areas of investment, tourism, housing and information and broadcasting.
A joint press statement will be issued at 1.15 pm where India is likely to bring up the issue of ‘cross-border terrorism’. Salman, who had visited Pakistan last week, issued a joint statement with Pakistan Tuesday which stated that there was a need to avoid “politicisation of the UN listing regime” — an apparent reference to India’s renewed effort to list Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar as a “global terrorist” following the Pulwama terror attack.
The Crown Prince’s had visited Pakistan on February 17 where he signed deals worth $20 billion, promised to smoothen travel between the two nations and free Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails. His visit was delayed by a day due to unspecified reasons and was linked to heightened tensions between India and Pakistan due to the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel.
Saudi Arabia on Friday said it stood with India’s fight against terrorism and censured Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terming the attack ‘cowardly’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince met in November last year on the sidelines of G20 in Buenos Aires. During the visit of the Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, MBS, as he is widely known, had met him as the then Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia. The 2.7 million strong Indian community is the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia. They send remittances of over US $11 billion annually. The Kingdom also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage to over 1,75,000 Indians every year. This is a major reason why Saudi Arabia is an important country for India.
Source: India Express