Ahead of the National Day of Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed his greetings to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and renewed the invitation to him to visit India at an early date.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar who just concluded his first official visit to Saudi Arabia and held talks with the top leadership here discussed measures for enhancing bilateral relations across all domains, including political, trade, energy, defence and security, the Indian embassy here said in a press release.
He met the Saudi Crown Prince in Jeddah on Sunday and handed over a written message from Prime Minister Modi, conveying greetings on the upcoming National Day of Saudi Arabia on September 23 and reiterating invitation to the Crown Prince to visit India at an early date, the press release said. Crown Prince Mohammed paid his first State visit to India in February 2019. During the meeting, bilateral relations between the two countries and opportunities for enhancing them were reviewed and the latest regional and international developments, as well as the efforts being exerted towards them, were discussed, the official Saudi Press Agency reported.
Earlier on Sunday in Riyadh, Jaishankar held talks with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan and discussed current global political as well as economic issues and agreed to work closely together in G-20 and multilateral organisations.
The two ministers co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Committee on Political, Security, Social and Cultural Cooperation (PSSC), under the framework of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council.
Both ministers assessed the progress in bilateral relations positively across all domains including political, trade, energy, investments, defence, security and culture.
Several areas were identified for further enhancing bilateral cooperation such as food security, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, defence industry and entertainment, the Indian embassy press release said.
The two ministers endorsed the work of the four Joint Working Groups of the PSSC (Political and Consular; Defence; Legal and Security; and Social and Cultural) as well as the Senior Officials Meetings. They also discussed greater coordination between the two countries in multilateral organisations especially the G-20, the statement said.
Jaishankar met the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf on September 10 and discussed India-GCC relations.
Jaishankar and GCC Secretary General also signed an MOU on Mechanism of Consultations between India and GCC. The MOU provides for institutionalisation of annual dialogue between India and the GCC and setting up Working Groups on different areas of cooperation.
India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth-largest trading partner.
More than 18 per cent of India’s crude oil imports are sourced from Saudi Arabia. During FY22 (April -December), bilateral trade was valued at USD 29.28 billion. During this period, India’s imports from Saudi Arabia were valued at USD 22.65 billion and exports to Saudi Arabia were worth USD 6.63 billion.
The approximately 2.2-million-strong Indian community is the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom, according to the Indian embassy in Riyadh.
The top leadership of both countries remained in close touch even during the Covid-19 pandemic.