Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Tuesday condemned terrorism in all its forms, and agreed to improve bilateral security cooperation, PTI reported. The two leaders also discussed cooperation in agriculture, oil and gas, maritime security, innovative technology, renewable energy, trade and investment between the two countries, Economic Relations Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs TS Tirumurti said.
Tirumurti said Modi thanked the Saudi king for ensuring that crude oil is regularly exported to India, despite the attacks on facilities of Saudi oil giant Aramco. Salman also congratulated Modi on the victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the General Elections held in April-May.
Modi on Tuesday said “hard work and commitment” of the Indian diaspora in Saudi Arabia had helped strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, Arab News reported. Modi is on a two-day visit to the West Asian country.
The prime minister will attend Saudi Arabia’s high-profile annual financial conference, and hold talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de-facto ruler of the country, later in the day.
“Nearly 2.6 million Indians have made Saudi Arabia their second home, contributing to its growth and development,” Modi said in an interview with the newspaper. “Many Indians also visit the Kingdom every year for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, and for business purposes.”
The prime minister said he was confident that the Indian diaspora would continue to be a binding force between the two countries. “My message to my fellow citizens is that your country is proud of the place that you have made for yourself in the Kingdom,” Modi added.
The prime minister said the two countries share similar security concerns in their neighbourhood. “I am happy that our cooperation, particularly in the field of counterterrorism, security and strategic issues, is progressing very well,” he added. “My national security adviser just visited Riyadh for a very productive visit.”
Modi pointed out that at present Saudi Arabia was India’s second-largest supplier of oil – providing about 18% of its energy needs – and added that the two countries were progressing towards closer strategic partnership.
“We believe that stable oil prices are crucial for the growth of the global economy, particularly for developing countries,” the prime minister said. “Saudi Aramco is participating in a major refinery and petrochemical project on India’s west coast. We are also looking forward to the participation of Aramco in India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves.”
The two sides are expected to sign a number of agreements in several key sectors, including oil and gas, renewable energy and civil aviation. Tirumurti also said Modi will sign the Strategic Partnership Council Agreement with Crown Prince Mohammad, to cement the bilateral ties in political, defence, security, trade and investment.
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