Saudi Crown Prince to visit India today

Mohammed bin Salman will hold bilateral talks with Modi on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.

India officially announced the programme for the visit of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, starting today.

"At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is paying his first State visit to India on 19 and February 20, 2019. He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including ministers, senior officials and leading Saudi businessmen," an announcement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

His visit comes a day after his two-day trip to Islamabad, where he announced a bail-out investment of $20 billion. The Saudi Crown Prince returned to Saudi Arabia on Monday as India reportedly had reservations over his visit to India from Pakistan, according to PTI news.

During the forthcoming visit, the Crown Prince will call on the President and Vice President of India. He will hold bilateral talks with Modi on a wide range of issues of mutual interest. This visit follows a trip by Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, during which the two countries agreed to elevate their strategic partnership.

 

"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, investment, infrastructure, defence and security," the announcement said.

Saudi-India bilateral trade was $27.48 billion during the year 2017-18, making Saudi Arabia India's fourth largest trading partner. Saudi Arabia contributes about 20 percent of India's crude requirements. Recently, Saudi ARAMCO in partnership with ADNOC entered into a joint venture for $44 billion worth Ratnagiri Refinery and Petro-Chemical project Ltd.

"About 2.7 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia. Their positive and highly-appreciated contribution to the development of their host country has been an important anchor of bilateral engagement. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also facilitates Haj pilgrimage to over 175,000 Indians every year," the Ministry added.

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