India and Saudi Arabia Forge Stronger Bonds
“India and Saudi Arabia Forge Stronger Bonds: A Strategic Partnership for Growth and Stability”
In a significant diplomatic development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on September 11, 2023, during a state visit that marked the strengthening of India’s ties with one of its most crucial strategic partners. This visit comes on the heels of the recent launch of the India-Middle East-EU transport corridor, signifying the growing economic and geopolitical cooperation between the two nations.
Heading 1: India and Saudi Arabia: Strategic Partners
Prime Minister Modi began by underlining the importance of Saudi Arabia as “one of the most important strategic partners of India.” This assertion reflects the mutual recognition of both nations as rapidly growing economic powerhouses in the region. Their partnership holds the promise of enhancing stability across the entire region, and their commitment to deepening economic, energy, and technological ties is a testament to this vision.
Heading 2: The India-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council (SPC)
The visit saw the first meeting of the India-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council (SPC), which was established in October 2019. This council is a platform for both nations to explore multifaceted cooperation in various sectors, including defense, energy, security, education, technology, transportation, healthcare, tourism, culture, space, and semiconductors.
Heading 3: A Trilateral Project: West Coast Refinery
One of the highlights of the visit was the commitment to the West Coast refinery project, a trilateral initiative involving ARAMCO, ADNOC, and an Indian company. With $50 billion already allocated for this project, the announcement of a joint task force to oversee the investment of $100 billion, as promised by Saudi Arabia, demonstrates their shared determination to expedite this crucial endeavor.
Heading 4: Strengthening Bilateral Ties
Several agreements were signed during the visit to further solidify the relationship between India and Saudi Arabia. These included agreements between Indian and Saudi oversight and anti-corruption authorities, Exim Banks, educational institutions, and archival research organizations. These collaborations will foster greater cooperation in diverse fields.
Heading 5: Energy Partnership and Commitment to Stability
The joint statement issued at the conclusion of the visit emphasized Saudi Arabia’s commitment to remain a reliable partner and exporter of crude oil supplies to India. Both nations stressed the importance of defense and anti-terrorism cooperation, with a particular focus on preventing the illicit use of “missiles and drones” for terror activities.
Heading 6: Addressing Regional Concerns
The discussions between the two delegations extended to regional concerns, including Yemen and Afghanistan. India’s humanitarian assistance to Yemen received appreciation, and both sides expressed the need for a representative government in Afghanistan that includes all segments of the Afghan population.
The state visit of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to India marks a significant step in strengthening the bonds between the two nations. India and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to shared prosperity, stability, and cooperation in various sectors sets the stage for a prosperous and harmonious partnership in the years to come.