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Last Updated : Feb 20, 2019 12:54 PM IST | Source: PTI

Sushma Swaraj calls on Saudi crown prince, focus on expanding strategic ties

The crown prince arrived here on February 19 night on a less than 30-hour visit.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on February 20 met Saudia Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and discussed ways to add further momentum to the strategic ties between the two nations besides deepening engagement in the areas of trade and investment.

The crown prince arrived here on February 19  night on a less than 30-hour visit. In a special gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received him at airport.

After he was given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, the powerful Saudi leader talked about historical linkages between the two countries and stressed on expanding ties further.

"The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA....Today, we want to be ensured that the relationship is maintained and improved for sake of both the countries and with the leadership of Mr President and the Prime Minister, we can create good things for both the countries," he told reporters.

The Saudi crown prince also talked about the contribution of lakhs of Indians in the overall development of Saudi Arabia.

He arrived here a day after concluding his high-profile tour of Pakistan where he said dialogue was the only way to resolve "outstanding issues" between India and Pakistan.

After the meeting between Salman and Swaraj, the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said ways to expand strategic dimension of the ties were discussed.

"EAM @SushmaSwaraj called on HRH Crown Prince of #SaudiArabia Mohammed Bin Salman. Discussed adding momentum to strategic dimension of our relationship in various fields - from trade & investment to defence & security, and regional cooperation," the spokesperson tweeted.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the crown prince will leave New Delhi around 11.50 pm on February 20.

His visit comes in the backdrop of escalating tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror group in which 40 CRPF were killed.

In a joint statement, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Monday called for avoiding "politicisation" of the UN listing regime at a time when India was stepping up efforts to brand the JeM terror group's chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

The joint statement said the Saudi crown prince stressed that dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve "outstanding issues" between India and Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said in Islamabad that Riyadh will try to "de-escalate" tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama attack.

Saudi Arabia is also a key pillar of India's energy security, being a source of 17 per cent or more of crude oil and 32 percent of LPG requirements of India.

Recently, Saudi ARAMCO in partnership with ADNOC of UAE has agreed to partner in Ratnagiri Refinery and Petro-Chemical project Ltd which is a joint venture of USD 44 billion.

The Indian partners are IOC, BPCL and HPCL.

The crown prince is expected to travel to China from India.
First Published on Feb 20, 2019 12:44 pm
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