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India, Saudi Arabia to work for credible steps against terrorists

India and Saudi Arabia on Monday agreed to take “irreversible, verifiable and credible” steps against all terrorists without any discrimination, in an apparent message to Pakistan, which has been linked by New Delhi with last month’s Pulwama terror attack.

The development came during the visit of Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir here, as a follow up of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s India visit last month.

Al Jubeir met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in his over four-hour working visit.

He conveyed the greetings of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the Crown Prince to Prime Minister Modi.

Modi thanked the Saudi Arabian leadership for expressing solidarity with India’s fight against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The Saudi minister also briefed the Prime Minister on the follow up of the outcomes of the historical visit of the Crown Prince.

Both the countries have taken significant steps to boost trade and investment and to achieve $100 billion investment from Saudi Arabia into India, which was announced during the visit of the Crown Prince.

During his meeting with Sushma Swaraj, the third between the two leaders in about a fortnight, Al Jubeir took note of the “significant developments” after the visit of the Crown Prince.

She reiterated that “immediate irreversible and verifiable action” was essential to to dismantle terror infrastructure.

“It was agreed that Saudi Arabia and India should work together for irreversible, verifiable and credible steps against all terrorists without any discrimination,” an official release said.

India and Saudi Arabia have close and multifaceted relations underpinned by historic, cultural, religious and economic linkages which have been elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The two countries have agreed to set up the Strategic Partnership Council at the earliest.

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner and second largest supplier crude oil to the country.

IANS

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India

‘Saudi Arabia recognises India’s position on J&K, concerns on terror’

The joint statement issued during the visit of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was a very clear recognition of India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir and shows a great deal of sensitivity to India’s concerns on terrorism, officials said here on Thursday.

They said the two-day visit of the Crown Prince that concluded on Wednesday has given tremendous structure to the strategic partnership, built on the solid foundation of the relationship and considerably broadened the relations.

The visit also saw a strong thrust to the Saudi investment and $100 billion has been earmarked for investment opportunities reflecting a strong confidence in India’s growth story, according to the officials.

On the joint statement issued late Wednesday referring to the need for creating necessary conditions for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan, they said Saudi Arabia acknowledged that conditions have to be created for resumption of dialogue with Pakistan and displayed understanding of India’s stand that terror and talks cannot go together.

They said there was recognition that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. There was also an acknowledgement of threats India is facing in terms of terror.

The joint statement issued also said that the Crown Prince appreciated consistent efforts made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi since May 2014, including his personal initiatives, to have friendly relations with Pakistan.

There was recognition that the Prime Minister had reached out to the western neighbour but acts of friendship were thwarted by acts of terror.

The officials said that Strategic Partnership Council, to be chaired by Prime Minister and the Crown Prince, would have two to three ministerial groups looking at specific areas such as defence and security, and economy, trade and investment.

The proposed joint naval exercise could take place in 2019 and could be later extended to Army and Air Force.

On Saudi investments in India, they said it would cover a wide area including infrastructure, refining, petrochemicals, engineering, minerals, tourism and manufacturing.

In all, 11 MoUs were signed in the meeting of business council which was attended by nearly 50 Saudi entities.

They said that security was identified as a major area of cooperation keeping in mind common threats faced by the two countries.

The statement said that the two sides agreed to constitute a “Comprehensive Security Dialogue” at the level of National Security Advisors and set up a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism to enhance further cooperation in the counter-terrorism efforts and benefit mutually from real-time intelligence sharing.

It said that the two sides agreed to work together with other Indian Ocean Rim countries for enhancing maritime security.

The officials said that Saudi Arabia has also been sensitive to India’s request on prices of crude and has also agreed to requests for release of prisoners and increasing the quota of Haj pilgrims. It has been sensitive to the predicament of Indians stranded due to closure of a foreign company, they added.

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India

India, Saudi Arabia agree on need to exert pressure on countries backing terror

India and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday said that there was a need to exert “all possible pressure” on countries which extend any kind of support to terror activities.

Addressing the media after delegation-level talks with visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the “barbaric terror attack” in Pulwama was another manifestation of the danger posed by terrorism to humanity.

“We agree that to deal with it effectively, there is need to put all possible pressure on countries which are giving any kind of support to terrorism,” Modi said.

He said it was extremely necessary to destroy terror infrastructure and to punish terrorists and their supporters.

Modi said there was need for an action plan to deal with extremism so that the youths were not misguided by forces linked to terror and violence.

“I am happy that Saudi Arabia and India have common thoughts on this,” he said.

Prince Mohammed said in his remarks that his country was with India on the need to curb extremism and was willing to share intelligence for this purpose.

India, Saudi Arabia agree on need to exert pressure on countries backing terror

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India

Pakistan narrative on Kashmir not acceptable; Saudi Arabia

Over the years, Saudi Arabia has developed a far better understanding of Indias position on Jammu and Kashmir and the kind of terror threat the country faced and it was evident from the Kingdom’s strong denunciation of the Pulwama terror attack, sources said on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud will arrive on a two-day visit to India on Tuesday. The visit, his first to India, was planned before the Pulwama terror attack, which escalated tensions between India and Pakistan.

The crown prince’s visit comes a day after his trip to Pakistan, whom India has linked with the attack. He is learnt to have flown back to Saudi Arabia from Pakistan in an apparent acknowledgement of India’s sensitivities.

During his visit to Islamabad, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) for bilateral cooperation worth $20 billion. The crown prince who was honoured with Pakistan’s highest civilian honour called it a country “dear” to all Saudis.

Sources said Saudi Arabia’s investments in Pakistan cannot be compared with India. Saudi Arabia was not investing in India to bail the country out, but because it was a robust economy growing at nearly 7 per cent, they added.

There has been a remarkable transformation in bilateral relationship in the last four-five years and “it is Pakistan that should be feeling insecure,” they said and added India does not see its relations with Saudi Arabia vis-a-vis Pakistan.

The 2016 joint statement, issued by the two countries following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, had “very strong” references to combating terrorism, sources said.

They said, “there was an evolution in the way they were looking at terrorism per se” and the Pakistan narrative on Kashmir was not acceptable due to far better appreciation of India’s position.

Saudi agencies had collaborated with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) recently and the cooperation on security has been “pretty active.” India was one of eight identified strategic partners by Saudi Arabia with the other Asian countries being Japan, China and South Korea, they said.

The Saudi Prince was paying visits primarily to the western countries and the focus has now shifted to the east.

Referring to defence, sources said the two countries were looking at joint naval exercises.

Indian companies are looking forward to participate in large development projects, including Smart City, Red Sea Tourism Project and Entertainment City, being undertaken by Saudi Arabia.

Discussions are being held to boost investment in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) while energy, renewable energy and fertiliser sectors are the other areas of cooperation.

 

IANS