Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud met at the Hyderabad House in Delhi on Monday to co-chair the First Leaders’ Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council, a bilateral mechanism that was established in 2019.
The two leaders reviewed the progress made under the two Ministerial Committees of the Council, which focus on political, security, social, cultural, economic and investment cooperation. They also discussed all aspects of bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
The meeting was preceded by a ceremonial reception for the Crown Prince at the Rastrapati Bhawan, where he was welcomed by President Droupadi Murmu. The Crown Prince also met with President Murmu later in the evening, before leaving for Saudi Arabia.
The Crown Prince was in India for a three-day visit that began with his participation in the G20 summit, which India hosted for the first time in New Delhi on September 9-10. He was received by Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw at the airport.
This was his second state visit to India, after his first one in February 2019, when he was accompanied by a high-level delegation of ministers and senior officials.
India-Saudi Arabia: A strategic partnership
India and Saudi Arabia share a strong and multifaceted relationship that covers various domains, such as trade, energy, defence, security, culture and people-to-people ties.
India is the second largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia, while Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner. The two countries have also enhanced their energy cooperation, with Saudi Arabia being one of the largest suppliers of crude oil and liquefied petroleum gas to India.
The two countries have also increased their defence and security cooperation, with regular exchanges of visits and joint exercises. They have also signed several agreements and memoranda of understanding on counter-terrorism, cyber security, maritime security and intelligence sharing.
The two countries also share a cultural and civilizational bond, with a vibrant Indian community of around 2.4 million living in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom facilitates the annual Hajj pilgrimage of over 1.75 million Indians every year. The two countries have also taken steps to promote cultural exchanges and tourism.
The Strategic Partnership Council is a testament to the growing convergence and mutual trust between India and Saudi Arabia. The two leaders expressed their satisfaction with the outcomes of the meeting and reaffirmed their commitment to further strengthen their strategic partnership for the benefit of both countries and the region