S Arabia crown prince to visit India next week; trade, energy security top on agenda
New Delhi, Feb 12 : Defence, trade and energy security are expected to be high on the agenda when Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman holds talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to India next week.
Accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising ministers, senior officials and leading Saudi businessmen, Prince Salman will arrive India on February 19 on his maiden trip to the country, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement here.
During the visit, the Crown Prince will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on wide range of issues of mutual interest. He will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu.
The visit by Prince Salman, who is also the vice president of Saudi Arabia’s council of ministers, follows the highly successful trip of Prime Minister Modi to that country in April 2016, during which the two sides agreed to further elevate existing strategic partnership, the MEA said.
In recent years, there has been significant progress in bilateral cooperation in key areas of mutual interest, including energy security, trade and investment, infrastructure, defence and security, it said.
The bilateral trade was USD 27.48 billion during the last financial year 2017-18, making Saudi Arabia India’s fourth largest trading partner.
Saudi Arabia contributes significantly to India’s energy security needs by supplying about 20 per cent of crude requirements of the country.
Recently, Saudi ARAMCO in partnership with ADNOC of the UAE entered into a Joint Venture for USD 44-billion worth Ratnagiri Refinery and Petro-Chemical project Ltd.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage to over 1,75,000 Indians every year.