Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on three-nation tour. Narendra Modi landed on Saudi Arabia on 2nd April 2016, today. Narendra Modi Modi left for Saudi from US late at night after attending the Nuclear Summit in Washington DC. He is on two days’ visit of Saudi Arabia to hold bilateral talks with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Narendra Modi will stay at the royal family’s guest palace.
After the meeting with King of Saudi, he will meet top Saudi business leaders. During this visit, the relationship between the two countries was elevated to “strategic partnership”. Before this former PM Manmohan Singh also visited the Saudi Arabia in 2010.
Narendra Modi will visit the famous Masmak fort and he will interact with the Indian community and visit Tata Consultancy centre which had trained over 1,000 Saudi women. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner with exports amounting upto $11 billion. More than 134,000 Indians go for the Haj pilgrimage every year and almost 300,000 for Umra.
Before leaving on 3 nation tour, PM Modi had said, “India’s ties with Saudi Arabia are special. Robust people-to-people ties constitute a key component of our engagement. I plan to work with the Saudi leadership to expand and deepen our bilateral relations. Discussions on the regional situation would also be on the agenda.”
Faheem H Al Hamid, the Jeddah-based executive editor of Okaz newspaper group, said, “This will be the first PM-level visit from a BJP government. Since BJP’s history with Muslims has not been very encouraging, it will be important to see what he has to say about Muslim minorities in India. BJP’s support for the Arab cause, vis-a-vis Israel, will also be gauged during this visit.”
“Saudi Arabia will also want India to take a position on Iran’s role in the sectarian violence in the region. Riyadh wants India to be part of the security coalition. Will Modi come out and support the war in Yemen? These are issues which will be taken up and watched closely,” he added. Apart from official meetings, Modi will also meet top CEOs of major Saudi companies, visit the Masmak fort, interact with the Indian community and visit Tata Consultancy centre, which has trained over 1,000 Saudi women. He will also meet Indian workers at a project being implemented by L&T in Dahiat Namar in Riyadh.
There are four key aspects to India’s relationship with Saudi Arabia: energy cooperation, the nearly three million-strong expatriate Indian community, Haj pilgrimage and security cooperation.
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