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PIX: When Saudi King Abdullah visited India

January 23, 2015 11:25 IST

 

Image: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia smiles as he speaks to then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before the king's departure at New Delhi airport January 27, 2006. King Abdullah was the chief guest for India's 57th Republic Day celebrations. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

In January 2006, King Abdullah became the first Saudi monarch in 51 years to visit India.

Saudi King Abdullah, one of the wealthiest and most powerful leaders in the world, died aged 90 on Friday. The royal court did not disclose the cause of Abdullah's death, but he was hospitalised in December suffering from pneumonia and had been breathing with the aid of a tube.

 

Image: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia takes a glass of water as he attends India's Republic day parade with Indian President Abdul Kalam in New Delhi January 26, 2006. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

In a significant move in oil diplomacy, King Abdullah was invited to be the chief guest at India’s Republic Day parade on January 26, 2006.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh waived protocol by receiving the monarch at the airport on Tuesday, January 24.

Image: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia smiles during the ceremonial reception at the presidential palace as India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks on in New Delhi.

During his four-day visit India and Saudi Arabia held talks on energy cooperation, terrorism, avoidance of double taxation, labour exports and prevention of tax evasion among other issues.

The Saudi king and then Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh signed an agreement forging a strategic energy partnership that was termed the "Delhi Declaration."

An Indo-Saudi joint declaration in New Delhi described the king's visit as ‘heralding a new era in India-Saudi Arabia relations’.

Image: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia inspects the guard of honour during the ceremonial reception at the presidential palace in New Delhi on January 25, 2006. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

In February 27, 2010, then prime minister Manmohan Singh undertook a 3-day visit to Saudi Arabia. He was accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur, health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, Petroleum Minister Murli Deora and minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor.

It was the first visit to the kingdom by an Indian Prime Minister since 1982.

Image: King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia talks with Sonia Gandhi, chief of India's Congress party, in New Delhi January 27, 2006. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/Reuters

In a rare diplomatic gesture symbolising the strong cultural and socio-economic ties between the two nations, Dr Singh and his official delegation were received at the royal terminal of the King Khalid International Airport by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz accompanied by his entire cabinet.

In departure from the protocol norms, a red carpet was rolled out to the prime minister, instead of the traditional green carpet.

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