Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud are set to engage in discussions today, covering a wide array of topics during the Crown Prince’s State visit. This visit follows his arrival in Delhi as part of a three-day tour that commenced with the G20 Summit in the national capital of India.
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is scheduled to receive a formal reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan at 10 am, preceding his meeting with PM Modi at 11 am. Following his interactions with PM Modi and other esteemed individuals, Prince Salman will have a meeting with President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan at 6:30 PM, before his departure from New Delhi at 8:30 PM. This marks Prince Salman’s second official visit to India.
What’s on the agenda?
The focal point of their meeting, hosted at Delhi’s Hyderabad House, will be the First Leaders’ Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council. This council stems from a bilateral agreement inked by India and Saudi Arabia in Riyadh back in 2019. The agenda includes a comprehensive review of the progress made by the ministerial committees operating under the Strategic Partnership Council.
These committees encompass areas such as Political, Security, Social, and Cultural Cooperation, as well as economic and investment cooperation. Additionally, the leaders plan to delve into a broad spectrum of bilateral relations, spanning politics, security, defence, trade, economy, culture, and people-to-people connections. Furthermore, the discussions will extend to regional and international matters of shared concern, as outlined in an official government release.
The two nation’s history
India and Saudi Arabia both share a long history of cordial and cooperative relations along with extensive people-to-people ties. In the fiscal year 2022-2023, the bilateral trade between both countries reached an all-time high of USD 52.75 billion as per the data by the government.
During his 2019 visit to Riyadh, PM Modi stated that India and Saudi Arabia have a Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation (JCDC) that conducts meetings regularly and also that the two nations have identified a plethora of areas of mutual interest and cooperation in the field of defence and security.
India and Saudi Arabia, both economic powerhouses, share a robust trade relationship. Saudi Arabia ranks as India’s fourth-largest trading partner, while India holds the position of being Saudi Arabia’s second-largest. These nations also maintain a substantial partnership within the energy sector, as India heavily relies on importing substantial quantities of oil from Saudi Arabia.
The road ahead
During the two-day G20 Summit held in New Delhi, Saudi Arabia was among the signatories to the ambitious India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor. The initiative, often viewed as a potential substitute for China’s Belt and Road Initiative, was collaboratively unveiled by Prime Minister Modi and the leaders of the United States, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, and the European Union during the G20 summit. Upon its realisation, this endeavour has the potential to act as a contemporary version of the Silk Road, which historically played a pivotal role in fostering economic collaborations, political alliances, and cultural exchanges spanning continents.