India-Saudi Arabia relations are set to receive a major boost with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday embarking on his long-overdue visit to this oil- rich country during which the two sides will sign an extradition treaty and 10 other pacts in various fields.
Singh arrived this evening to a rousing welcome from the Saudi government which demonstrated a special gesture as the entire cabinet, including the three brothers of King Abdullah, received him and his wife Gursharan Kaur at the King Khalid International Airport.
First deputy prime minister and defence minister Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Interior Minister and second deputy prime minister second Crown Prince Naif Bin Abdul Aziz and Governor of Riydah Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz warmly greeted Singh, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the country in 28 years.
Amid his keenness to impart "strategic character" to India-Saudi Arabia ties, Singh will hold wide-ranging talks with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on issues ranging from cooperation in various areas, situation in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism.
India's concerns over 'safe havens' of Al-Qaeda and Taliban along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border will be also discussed during the talks between Singh and King Abdullah. Saudi Arabia itself has concerns with regard to Al-Qaeda operating out of Yemen.