Saudi Crown Prince begins day-long state visit after G20 Summit
MBS last visited India in February 2019, and this was followed by a visit to Saudi Arabia by Modi in October the same year, when the two countries created the Strategic Partnership Council
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday began a state visit to India, after participating in the G20 Summit over the weekend, to review bilateral ties and cooperation in areas ranging from energy to security.
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud during the G20 summit in New Delhi last week. (AP Photo)
The de facto Saudi ruler, who also holds the post of prime minister, will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the day-long visit.
Saud Al-Sati, the Saudi deputy minister for political and economic affairs, travelled to New Delhi last month to review preparations for the visit by Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS as he is popularly known. Al-Sati, who earlier served as the ambassador to India, met Ausaf Sayeed, secretary (overseas Indian affairs) in the external affairs ministry, and reviewed the gamut of bilateral relations.
The current Saudi ambassador, Saleh Eid Alhusseini, also met external affairs minister S Jaishankar last Tuesday. “Look forward to the further development and progress of the India-Saudi Arabia relationship across all domains,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.
Modi and MBS had a phone conversation in June when they reviewed bilateral cooperation and discussed ways to bolster ties in connectivity, energy, defence, trade and investment. This was the first contact between the leadership of the two countries since China brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of India’s key partners in West Asia in recent years, especially in defence, security and energy. Saudi Arabia is also home to 2.6 million Indians, one of the largest concentrations of expatriates in the region.
MBS last visited India in February 2019, and this was followed by a visit to Saudi Arabia by Modi in October the same year, when the two countries created the Strategic Partnership Council. This body has two pillars – a political, security, social and cultural committee headed by the foreign ministers, and a committee on economy and investments led by the Indian commerce minister and the Saudi energy minister.
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