Modi to pay key bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Riyadh from Washington on Saturday on the third and last leg of his three-nation tour to pay a two-day bilateral visit to Saudi Arabia at the invitation of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

This will be the first prime ministerial visit from India to the Gulf kingdom after the visit of then prime minister Manmohan Singh in 2010.

During that visit, the relationship between the two countries was elevated to “strategic partnership”.

This was after the Delhi Declaration made during then King Abdullah’s historic visit to India in 2006, the first by a Saudi monarch in five decades.

There are four key aspects to India’s relationship with Saudi Arabia: energy cooperation, the nearly three million-strong expatriate Indian community, Haj pilgrimage and security cooperation.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest crude oil supplier accounting for one-fifth of the total imports. In 2015, India imported $21 billion worth of crude oil from that Gulf nation.

Saudi Arabia is also India’s fourth largest trading partner with exports to that country exceeding $11 billion.

At over 2.96 million, Indians form the largest expatriate community in Saudi Arabia and are crucial to the Indian economy as they send over $10 billion in remittances every year.

Over 134,000 Indians go for the Haj pilgrimage every year and almost 300,000 for Umra.

A key aspect of the strategic partnership between the two countries is the defence cooperation agreement signed during then Crown Prince Salman’s visit to India in 2014.

With Saudi Arabia upping the ante against terrorism, security cooperation also has become an important cornerstone of the relationship. In recent times, Riyadh handed over to New Delhi key terror operatives like Abu Jundal and Abdul Aziz alias Gidda.

“India’s ties with Saudi Arabia are special,” Prime Minister Modi said in a statement ahead of his departure from New Delhi.

“Robust people-to-people ties constitute a key component of our engagement. I plan to work with the Saudi leadership to expand and deepen our bilateral relations. Discussions on the regional situation would also be on the agenda,” he said.

The prime minister also said that he wanted Saudi businesses to partner in India’s development plans.

Soon after his arrival in Riyadh on Saturday afternoon, Modi will visit the historic Masmak fortress.

The fortress was taken over by King Abdulaziz in 1902 in a sudden attack which marked the start of the history of the third state of Saudi Arabia.

Thereafter, Modi will meet with members of the Indian community which will be followed by a visit to the L&T workers’ residential complex.

L&T is doing $2 billion worth of work on the $600-billion Riyadh Metro Project.

On Sunday, the prime minister will visit the Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) all-women IT centre.

“It is a very happy thing that he will be doing because this centre provides employment opportunities to Saudi women and this is empowerment of Saudi women,” Mridul Kumar, joint secretary (Gulf) in the external affairs ministry, said at a media briefing in connection with the visit.

“When the centre started two or three years back, there were 80 people in that centre. It has now grown to over 1,000,” he said, adding that 80 percent of the workers there were local Saudi girls.

Stating that this was the first BPO operation by any company in the world in Saudi Arabia, Kumar said that “it is a very important statement that we will be making there”.

After this, Modi will meet with select top Saudi business leaders.

The official ceremony at the Royal Court will start in the afternoon when King Salman will receive the prime minister

King Salman will host a lunch in Modi’s honour in which key Saudi ministers and other leaders will be present,

This will be followed by a delegation-level meeting and signing of agreements.

The prime minister will leave for New Delhi late Sunday afternoon.


  1. India’s relations with Saudi Arabia is no more a ‘one sided’ saga of friendship. India and Saudi Arabia have lot to gain thru various bilateral trade and economic relations plus many other regional stabilities that both the countries have lot to gain together. A strong expatriate manpower from India into Saudi Arabia and the multicultural and multi-religious benefits both the countries gain is enormous and will bring lasting results. Honest and hard-working manpower with interfering with any local political or religious sentiments is something India will always deserve a boast. India will continue to buy Saudi Arabia’s Energy productions including Petrochemicals because of India’s growing population and growing demand. While Saudi Arabia has many Technology related Energy problems with so many other global issues, India’s role as a faithful and trustworthy partner will bring a great deal of benefit for the entire region. Mr. Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia, specially after his visit to Washington DC. has lot more to exchange various diplomatic and sensitive issues that U.S./Saudi Arabia and India know the best.

  2. The truth about the Al Saud family’s evil influence will never be told by the Indian press. Saudi oil money has corrupted Indian press like it has corrupted the Western press. MK Bhadrakumar tells the truth about the Saudi-Indian relationship.

    “Make no mistake, India can never have robust security cooperation with Saudi Arabia, given the latter’s consistent record of being the patron saint of extremist Islamist groups the world over – be it Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq, Yemen or Syria. India has a large Muslim population and partnership with Saudi Arabia will amount to letting the fox to guard the chicken coop.

    India’s endeavour should be to keep the Saudis at arm’s length and prevent them from radicalising the Muslim population in our country, which of course requires eternal vigilance about the Saudi tentacles that are running in the nooks and corners of our country.

    In sum, the raison d’etre of Modi’s forthcoming visit to Saudi Arabia narrows down to the welfare of the Indian community, numbering 2.96 million, living in that country. To be sure, ensuring their welfare is a matter of abiding interest – and indeed an obligation – for the government. It is a pity that Saudis do not take kindly to a Madison Square Garden like event on their soil for Modi to address the Indian community, which he would have relished.

    India should have no illusions that Saudi Arabia has a time-tested strategic alliance with Pakistan. If the influential Saudi lobby in India tries to give a larger-than-life dimension to the relationship between Delhi and Riyadh, it is because the main thrust of the Saudi diplomacy toward India is to discourage Delhi from moving forward in relations with Tehran.

    But the Saudi lobby should not be allowed to hinder our ability to understand, and navigate, a rapidly changing West Asia, or hustle us into buying into the mythology that Saudi-Pakistan relations are unravelling and India must therefore go for the kill. The heart of the matter is that Saudi-Pakistani alliance is made in heaven.

    It was only very recently that King Salman offered a hugely remunerative post-retirement job to the Pakistani army chief Gen Raheel Sharif – as the first commander-in-chief of the Saudi-funded Islamic Military Alliance (NATO of the Muslim world.) And Sharif has promptly showed his gratefulness to the King by threatening Iran with dire consequences if it allowed an Indian presence in Chabahar.

    An Indian spy was brought in from the cold for that purpose. Clearly, the spectre that is haunting Pakistan and Saudi Arabia is the resurgence of the strategic partnership between India and Iran. Indeed, if the pivotal Chabahar project gets under way, it opens the door to wide-ranging multi-billion dollar energy projects.

    The last week’s spy thriller from Balochistan, just when our petroleum minister was to visit Tehran to close the deal on energy projects, should be an eye-opener for Delhi. The Saudi-Pakistani congruence in blocking Indian-Iranian partnership is with an eye on the overall strategic balance in the region. [Meanwhile, Iran has countered Pakistani claims: “Some elements spreading ‘undignified’ rumours about Indian spy to undermine Pak-Iran relations: Tehran”]

    The challenge for Indian diplomacy, therefore, lies in managing the ties with Saudi Arabia by keeping them on an even keel, while advancing the mutually beneficial economic cooperation with Iran. If China’s diplomacy can achieve it, so can we.

    But then, we should have a sense of proportion. Saudi Arabia is quintessentially a petrodollar state with dwindling oil reserves and vastly declining income. Iran, on the other hand, is a potential regional power on the surge with nearly four times the Saudi population, a diverse economy with a broad industrial and technological base and agriculture plus having the second biggest gas reserves in the world, which are yet to be tapped for export. We should be clear about our priorities.”

  3. “mangana kaiyalli maanikya’ sums up everything you need to know about Saudi. If it wasn’t for crucial, abundantly available natural resource, this place would be what it was for thousands of years – Camels with backward mindset. Other countries like Iran (Persia) has contributed a lot more to humanity than this dark spot on planet.

  4. If it wasn’t for crucial abundantly natural resource, this place would be what it was for thousands of years – camels with backward mindset! – Rampai

    Lol! That can be said of almost any land, or at LEAST – the US in particular!

    You see, IF it wasn’t for PLENTY of FREE fertile land, ore, lumber, WATER, literal genocide of an indigenous race, natural harbors, estuaries, FREE SLAVE labor, the US would have been…. err… just horses, scalps and bows and arrows! Look who is talking! Our very own RAMPA. 🙂

  5. Rampa, you guru – Patanjali Mana cum elastic baba recently said that if not for the Constitution of India he would cut off 100’s of heads for NOT saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

    Doesn’t that amount to inciting violence and tantamount to Sedition?

    What is Podibaba doing about it? Asking the Frenchmen to roll out some 48 more fighters (EVEN before the price of 1 has been finalized) for the SAME price? Lol… what happened to his ‘Mack in India’ lie?

    And hey, what happened to my 15 lakhs? Gone with Amitha Shaha’s tailwind?

    See what a Rampa you are?
    See what a Rampa Feku is?
    See what Rampas the Beef Jokers Party is?

    jai Rampai ki. 🙂

  6. An illiterate on this forum has two separate responses to my earlier post revealing his ignorance at a scale and magnitude never seen before. Even by his low standards, his post comparing USA to KSA (Saudi) really takes the cake!! Yes – The entire success of USA should go to lumber, horses, bows and arrows!! LOL Those wonderful Universities in Saudi Arabia have produced hundreds of Nobel laureates, new inventions and so much contribution in the field of science and technology. Oh – Did I mention how all the creative industries like Hollywood, Walt Disney, Pixar have their roots in Saudi Arabia? The free speech, libertarian principle, Jefferson Vs Hamilton views and countless other human innovations – Who else other than Saudi Arabia could have contributed so much to humanity? LOL

    As I have asked before – How does ‘Beef Club’ produce so many geniuses? LOL

  7. Who else other than Saudi Arabia could have contributed so much to humanity? – Rampa.

    Bravo! There… you said it. Looks like that movie outing did you a world of good. :):)

  8. The lazy Indian journalists trumpeted the memorandum of understanding between India and Saudi Arabia as a victory for Modi and a victory for Indian diplomacy. The Indian press claimed Saudi Arabia has joined the fight against terrorism. The indian press exists to serve as a vehicle for the PM’s press releases. Only the Indian Express had an article which dug deeper into the hyperbole about the fight against terrorism. It turns out Saudi Arabia was referring to Iran when it signed the agreement to fight terrorism. Indians who thought Saudi Arabia will stop funding terrorist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan are in for a big shock.

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