September 11, 2023
In a significant diplomatic development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held the first Leaders’ Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council in Delhi on Monday. The high-level talks covered a wide range of issues, reinforcing the growing ties between India and Saudi Arabia.
During the meeting, both leaders engaged in productive discussions on various areas of bilateral cooperation. These discussions encompassed critical domains such as energy security, trade and investment, defense and security, healthcare, and food security, demonstrating the depth and breadth of the partnership. India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, shared insights into the discussions, highlighting the commitment to strengthen ties in these essential areas.
The visit of the Saudi Crown Prince, his second state visit to India since February 2019, came in conjunction with his attendance at the G20 Summit. Initially arriving in Delhi on September 8 for the Summit, he extended his stay for bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Modi.
Prime Minister Modi expressed optimism about the future of the relationship, emphasizing the vast potential for cooperation. He stated, “His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and I had very productive talks. We reviewed our trade ties and are confident that the commercial linkages between our nations will grow even further in the times to come. The scope for cooperation in grid connectivity, renewable energy, food security, semiconductors, and supply chains is immense.”
The visit commenced with the traditional ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Modi, and other ministers received the Saudi Crown Prince. During his remarks, the Saudi Crown Prince extended his congratulations to India for successfully hosting the G20 Summit and expressed his optimism about the future of bilateral relations.
Throughout the day, the Saudi Crown Prince engaged in discussions at the Hyderabad House, a venue synonymous with diplomacy and strengthening ties with nations worldwide. Accompanying him was a high-level delegation comprising ministers and senior officials.
The visit of the Saudi Crown Prince comes against the backdrop of a significant milestone in economic cooperation between the two nations. Bilateral trade reached an all-time high of $52.75 billion during the fiscal year 2022-23. India and Saudi Arabia hold vital positions as trading partners for each other, with Riyadh being New Delhi’s fourth-largest trading partner, and vice versa.
Later in the evening, the Saudi Crown Prince is set to meet President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan once again. This meeting is expected to provide a platform for dialogue that reaffirms mutual interests and addresses regional and international matters of concern to both countries.
The strategic meeting between Prime Minister Modi and the Saudi Crown Prince underscores the commitment of India and Saudi Arabia to deepening their partnership and exploring new avenues of cooperation. It is anticipated that this visit will further strengthen the bonds between the two nations and pave the way for enhanced collaboration in various sectors, contributing to regional and global stability.