By James Mathew
Indian PM will also hold bilateral discussions with the King of Saudi Arabia, and the Crown Prince on several matters of bilateral cooperation
India and Saudi Arabia are expected to sign an agreement for establishment of a bilateral strategic partnership council during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the kingdom on Tuesday.
The establishment of the proposed strategic partnership council between the two countries is aimed at elevating India-Saudi Arabia strategic partnership to a new level, according to a statement issued by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on the eve of Narendra Modi’s visit.
Defence, security, trade, culture, education and people-to-people contacts are the other important areas that are expected to figure in the bilateral discussions between India and Saudi Arabia during Modi’s one-day visit to the kingdom.
The Indian Prime Minister will also hold bilateral discussions with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on several matters of bilateral cooperation as well as regional and global issues of mutual interest, during his one-day visit, the statement said.
Political observers said Modi’s current visit to Saudi Arabia assumes added significance as it happens at a time when his government is facing increased criticism from several quarters internationally over the alleged human right violations in India’s northern state of Jammu & Kashmir.
Jammu & Kashmir has been in a state of locked-down since August 5 this year when the Modi government moved a resolution to repeal Article 370 which granted a special status to the state, as also the government's decision to trifurcate the state into 3 Union Territories.
The Indian prime minister is expected to stress upon the reasons for scrapping the special status to Jammu & Kashmir, the only Muslim majority state in India.
Modi, who is visiting Saudi Arabia at the invitation of the Saudi king, will attend the plenary session of the 3rd Future Investment Initiative Forum being held in Riyadh.
“India and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed traditionally close and friendly relations. Saudi Arabia has been one of the largest and reliable suppliers of India’s energy needs,” Modi said in a statement.
“I also look forward to my participation in the Future Investment Initiative Forum where I will speak about the growing trade and investment opportunities for the global investors in India as the country marches forward to a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024,” he added.
The crown prince during his visit to New Delhi in February 2019 committed to invest over $100 billion in sectors of priority in India.