India and Saudi Arabia have rejected totally any attempt to link the menace of extremism and terrorism that threatens all nations and societies to any particular race, religion or culture. Acknowledging and commending their strong bilateral security cooperation, the Saudi King and the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity-building. Significantly, the two leaders expressed strong condemnation of the phenomenon of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, irrespective of who the perpetrators were and of their motivations, according to a joint statement issued in Riyadh at the end of delegation level talks on Sunday, the second and last day of Prime Minister ModiÃ¢ÂÂs visit to Saudi Arabia. Mr. Modi also met the representatives of the three million strong Indian community in Riyadh and visited the all-women TCS IT Centre in the city.
India and Saudi Arabia called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries; dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states; and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice. Out of 37 points in the joint statement, five were devoted to terrorism and security matters. The similarity in the views of India and Saudi Arabia came after Prime Minister Modi made a strong pitch in Washington for a united, global response to tackle terrorism as terrorists were no longer hiding in caves but had become tech-savy and urbane. This is second high level visit from the Indian side to Saudi Arabia in the last six years. The then Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had visited the oil-rich Kingdom in 2010. Saudi Arabia is also the fourth largest trading partner of India. The Kingdom is planning to set up worldÃ¢ÂÂs largest sovereign wealth fund of about $ Two trillion and India is keen to get a substantial investment.
The joint statement said that the two leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism, both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system of the UN. The two leaders called upon the international community to strengthen multilateral regimes to effectively address the challenges posed by terrorism. India and Saudi Arabia also agreed to work together towards the adoption of IndiaÃ¢ÂÂs proposed Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations. Mr. Modi lauded KingdomÃ¢ÂÂs efforts at fighting terrorism in all its aspects and its active participation in international efforts towards this end. The Indian side was briefed on the KingdomÃ¢ÂÂs initiative in bringing together Islamic Alliance against terrorism, the joint statement said. The two countries also agreed to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug-trafficking and other transnational crimes. They welcomed the signing of an MOU on cooperation in exchange of intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and terrorism financing. The two sides further agreed to take action against illegal transfer of money.
Both leaders agreed to promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention of use of cyber space for terrorism, radicalization and for disturbing social harmony. The two leaders directed their relevant agencies to coordinate efforts to counter radicalization and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism for pursuing political aims. They welcomed exchanges and dialogue between religious scholars and intellectuals of both countries and the organization of conferences and seminars to promote values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare, inherent in all religions.
Historical ties, people-to-people contacts
King Salman received Prime Minister Modi at the Royal Court and they held wide ranging discussions and exchanged views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest. The two leaders underlined the close and friendly bilateral ties, deep-rooted in shared history and sustained and nourished through growing economic partnership, multi-faceted cooperation and vibrant people to people contacts. They recognized the close inter-linkage of the stability and security of the Gulf region and the Indian sub-continent and the need for maintaining a secure and peaceful environment for the development of the countries of the region. The two leaders expressed appreciation for the successful transformation of bilateral relationship in political, economic, security, defence, manpower and people to people exchanges, in recent years, which have enriched bilateral ties. They expressed satisfaction at the regular exchange of high-level visits between the two countries, underlining that the Delhi Declaration (2006) and the Riyadh Declaration (2010) elevated the mutually beneficial bilateral relations to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’.
The two leaders agreed upon the need to intensify bilateral defence cooperation, through exchange of visits by military personnel and experts, conduct of joint military exercises, exchange of visits of ships and aircrafts and supply of arms and ammunition and their joint development. They also welcomed the decision for convening of the second meeting of Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation in Riyadh to follow up on the visit of Prime Minister Modi.
Trade & Investment
Both leaders appreciated the bilateral institutional mechanisms in the field of trade & investment, energy, defence and manpower. Acknowledging the on-going positive transformation of the economies of India and Saudi Arabia, the two leaders emphasized the importance of expanding trade and investment ties to drive the strategic engagement forward. King Salman Bin AbdulazizÃ commended Prime Minister ModiÃ¢ÂÂs initiatives of “”Start Up India””, “”Make in India””, “”Smart CityÃ¢ÂÂ, and “”Clean IndiaÃ¢ÂÂ, noting their strong potential to provide Indian economy a positive thrust for growth. The Indian side highlighted the key initiatives taken by the government to improve the ease of doing business in the country and India’s key efforts to simplify and rationalize existing rules and relax the foreign direct investment norms in key areas, including railways, defence and insurance. Inviting Saudi Arabia to be a partner in India’s growth story, Prime Minister Modi encouraged Saudi Aramco, SABIC and other Saudi companies to invest in the infrastructure sector in India and to participate in projects creating mega industrial manufacturing corridors, smart cities as well as the Digital India and Start up India programmes. The Saudi side expressed its interest in investing in infrastructure development in India, especially in priority areas such as railways, roads, ports, and shipping.
The two leaders agreed to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy-sector to one of deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in petrochemical complexes, and cooperation in joint exploration in India, Saudi Arabia and in third countries. The two leaders discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia, Middle East and South Asia, in the light of their common interest in the regional and global peace, security and stability. During their discussions on regional issues, the two sides emphasized the importance of the principle of good neighbourliness, non-interference in internal affairs, respect of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and resolution of dispute through peaceful means. The two sides expressed their hope for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and the resolutions of international legitimacy, in a way that guarantees the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the establishment of their independent, united and viable state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Prime Minister Modi invited the King to pay an official visit to India at mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted.”