Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reiterated their resolve to achieve strategic partnership in the entire gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries.
In a meeting held at Al-Yamamah Palace here, the two leaders also vowed to further enhance cooperation and coordination in combating terror as well as in bolstering ties in security and defense fields, besides boosting intra-investments.
Several cooperation agreements and memoranda of understanding between the two countries were also signed in the presence of King Salman and the Indian premier.
At the outset of the meeting, the King welcomed Modi and the accompanying high-ranking delegation to the Kingdom. “Your visit reflects the depth of relations between our friendly countries and peoples. We applaud the economic growth achieved by your country, and look forward to further strengthening the relations and develop it in all spheres, especially the cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, energy and technology, and increase trade exchange between our countries,” the King said.
King Salman appreciated India’s interest in the affairs of the region and its keenness in supporting the stability of the states in the region. The King hoped that the global efforts to solve the Syrian crisis on the basis of Geneva I resolutions would be fruitful, and that the peace and security would prevail in Yemen and the UN sponsored peace talks would help find a political solution on the basis of the Security Council Resolution 2216.
“We also emphasize the significance of continuing cooperation and coordination with your government in the field of fighting terrorism. We are confident that our talks would strengthen relations and cooperation in all fields, and thus achieving strategic partnership between the two countries, in a way serving the interests of both the countries,” the King added.
Before his official talks with King Salman, Prime Minister Modi was accorded an official welcome at the Royal Court where national anthems of the two countries were played.
On his part, Modi expressed his happiness over the visit to the Kingdom and meeting with King Salman. He thanked the King for the warm reception and hospitality accorded to him. Modi lauded the role of King Salman in boosting bilateral relations for the benefit of both the countries and their peoples.
“India is keen to further bolster relations in all fields particularly in counter-terrorism and enhancing cooperation in the security and defense fields, in addition to promoting intra-investments between the two countries,” he said.
The talks also explored the prospects of further strengthening bilateral cooperation.The two leaders also reviewed the latest developments on regional and international arenas. King Salman decorated Modi with King Abdulaziz Sash.
King Salman and Modi later attended the signing ceremony of a cooperation agreement, two cooperation programs, an executive program and a draft memorandum of understanding between the two governments in the fields of investment promotion, standardization, hiring labor, handicrafts, and exchanging intelligence information on money laundering and terrorism financing.
The cooperation program for promoting investments between Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Indian Investment Authority was signed. SAGIA was represented by Prince Saud Bin Khaled Al-Faisal, executive chairman for systems and investment policies at SAGIA, in inking the deal while the Indian side was represented by Amar Sinha, undersecretary for economic relations at the Ministry of External Affairs.
The cooperation program in the fields of standardization was signed by Saud Al-Askar, deputy governor of Saudi Standards, Quality and Metrology Organization, and Ahmed Javed, Indian ambassador to the Kingdom.
The cooperation agreement in hiring general labors was inked by Ziyad Al-Sayegh, undersecretary for international labor at the Ministry of Labor and Ahmed Javed, ambassador of India. An executive cooperation program in the field of handicrafts, and a memorandum of understanding for cooperation with regard to exchanging intelligence information on money laundering and terrorism financing were also signed.
The talks and signing ceremony were also attended by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, Riyadh Emir Prince Faisal, Minister of the National Guard Prince Miteb Bin Abdullah, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Minister of Economy and Planning Adel Fakeih, Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir, several other princes, ministers and Saudi officials. The Indian officials who attended the talks included Ajit Doval, national security advisor, Amar Sinha, and S. Jaishankar, secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Later, Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, also held wide ranging talks with Modi. They discussed latest developments in the Middle East region and the position of both the countries toward them, in addition to enhancing cooperation in counter-terrorism and other issues of mutual concern.
India’s ties with Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing over the last two decades based on burgeoning energy ties.
Both sides are keen on expanding the economic ties in a range of areas besides the oil sector.
Ahead of his talks with the King, Foreign Minister Al-Jubeir called on the Indian leader and discussed a number of issues of mutual interests.
Khalid A. Al-Falih, Minister of Health and head of Aramco, also called on Modi. Al-Falih told the prime minister that Aramco looks at India as its most preferred investment destination.
Al-Falih and Modi discussed ways of enhancing cooperation in the field of health, especially pertaining to health staff, health services, and pharmaceutical manufacturing between the two countries. The talks also figured the role that the Saudi private sector can play in the Indian health sector.