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In India, Saudi deals, a message for Pak on terror

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
September 11, 2023 23:18 IST
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India and Saudi Arabia on Monday called on states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries and prevent access to weapons, including missiles and drones, to commit acts of terror.

IMAGE: Saudi Arabian Prime Minister and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Ceremonial Reception at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on Monday, September 11, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

In a joint statement issued after the first meeting of the India-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the two sides stressed the importance of security and stability in Afghanistan and forming an inclusive government there that represents all spectrums of the Afghan people.


The two leaders also laid emphasis on not allowing Afghanistan to be used as a platform or safe haven for terrorist and extremist groups.

Highlighting the importance of strengthening security cooperation in the field of combating terrorism and its financing, the two leaders concurred that terrorism in all its forms remains one of the gravest threats to humanity.

'They agreed that there cannot be any justification for any act of terror for any reason whatsoever. They rejected any attempt to link terrorism to any particular race, religion or culture,' the joint statement said.

Modi and bin Salman called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorism infrastructure where it exists, and bring perpetrators of terrorism swiftly to justice.

'Both sides stressed the need to prevent access to weapons including missiles and drones to commit terrorist acts against other countries,' read the joint statement.

The two leaders affirmed their desire to enhance cooperation in order to achieve security and stability in the two friendly countries.

'They also emphasised the importance of furthering cooperation between both sides in the areas of cyber security, maritime security, combating transnational crime, narcotics and drug trafficking,' the joint statement said.

It said the two sides agreed on the importance of cooperation to promote ways to ensure the security and safety of waterways and freedom of navigation in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

On Afghanistan, the two sides emphasized the importance of concerted international efforts to combat drug trafficking and provide humanitarian aid, and the necessity of its continuation.

The two leaders also decided to expedite implementation of the $50 billion West Coast refinery project, and identified energy, defence, semiconductor and space as areas for intensified cooperation.

In his opening remarks at the first India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council meeting, Modi said the relationship between the two countries is crucial for regional and global stability.

In the talks, the two sides agreed to diversify the current status of their hydrocarbons relationship into a 'comprehensive energy partnership' and inked eight pacts to boost cooperation in a range of areas including digitisation and investment.

Bin Salman was on a day-long State Visit to India following the end of the G20 Summit.

A major focus of the talks was enhancing energy cooperation.

"Both sides extended their full support to the early implementation of the West Coast refinery project, which is a trilateral cooperation between ARAMCO, ADNOC and Indian companies," Ausaf Sayeed, secretary (overseas Indian affairs) in the External Affairs Ministry, said.

At a media briefing, Sayeed said different areas of cooperation such as energy, defence, security, education, technology, transportation, healthcare, tourism and culture were identified in the talks between the two leaders.

The two sides also held deliberations on power grid, gas grid, optical grids and fibre networks for possible cooperation.

In the talks, both sides also agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in the area of payment systems including the acceptance of RuPAY card in Saudi Arabia for the benefit of the Indian community in general and more particularly the Hajj/Umrah pilgrims.

Prime Minister Modi and the Saudi leader co-chaired the first meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council that was established in October 2019.

Sayeed said both Prime Minister Modi and Crown Prince Bin Salman extended their 'full support' to the early implementation of the West Coast refinery project for which funds to the tune of $50 billion are already earmarked.

"The two sides agreed to set up a joint task force to help in identifying and channelising the $100 billion investments which was promised by the Saudi side half of which was for the refinery," he said.

The West Coast Refinery project is to come up in Maharashtra. The mega refinery-cum-petrochemicals complex project was first announced in 2015.

The two sides also decided to have a monitoring committee to ensure that the refinery projects are done according to the plans laid out by both the sides.

In the morning, Bin Salman was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The visiting leader and Modi held one-on-one talks before the Strategic Partnership Council meeting.

Modi also hosted a working lunch for the Saudi leader.

In the meeting, the two sides welcomed the launch of the India-Middle-East economic corridor.

"I am very glad to be here in India. I want to congratulate India for the G20 Summit," Bin Salman told reporters after the ceremonial welcome.

The Saudi leader said the announcements made at the summit will benefit the world.

"We will work together to create a great future for both the countries," he said.

Saudi Arabia is one of India's key strategic partners in the Middle-East. The overall relations between the two countries have witnessed a significant upward trajectory in the last few years.

The two sides have also been focusing on strengthening their defence and security partnership.

The then Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane visited Saudi Arabia in December 2020 in the first-ever visit by a head of the 1.3 million-strong Army to the important Gulf nation.

Since then, there have been series of visits of high-ranking military officials between the two sides.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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