Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman is expected to meet PM Narendra Modi for bilateral talks (File Photo)
New Delhi: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in New Delhi for a day's visit on Tuesday evening. He was received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport with a warm hug. The visit will be closely watched for talks between the two leaders on terrorism and trade. Amid India's efforts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan as punishment for the Pulwama terror attack, the Crown Prince had praised Islamabad's "efforts for regional peace and security" and announced investments worth 20 billion dollars at the end of his visit to the country on Monday.
Here are the 10 biggest developments in this story:
- Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known as "MBS", arrived in New Delhi with his ministers and a large business delegation, at the end of his two-day visit to Pakistan. He is expected to hold bilateral talks with PM Modi on Wednesday.
- Saudi Arabia has vowed to "de-escalate" rising tensions between Pakistan and India during the high-profile summit in Islamabad. The joint statement said during the talks, the Crown Prince and the Deputy Prime Minister also stressed that "dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve outstanding issues".
- "They also underlined the need for avoiding politicisation of UN listing regime," the joint statement said in an apparent reference to India's effort to include list Jaish chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under UN rules. Jaish has taken responsibility for Thursday's attack in Pulwama.
- Sources told NDTV that India and Saudi Arabia are likely to issue a "strong statement on terrorism" after Wednesday's meeting between PM Modi and the Prince. India, sources said, has a "strong, independent relationship with Saudi Arabia" and that "Pakistan should be feeling insecure, not India".
- India has refused any overtures of talks from Islamabad, contending that a dialogue cannot begin unless cross-border terror stops. Over 40 soldiers were killed in last week's attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama that India has blamed on Pakistan.
- India has been identified as one of the eight strategic partners with whom Saudi Arabia hopes to "deepen partnership" in terms of security, trade, investment and culture, news agency Press Trust of India quoted senior foreign ministry official TS Tirumurti as saying.
- The two nations are expected to set up a ''Strategic Partnership Council'' at a ministerial level, planning joint naval exercises and overall upping of defence cooperation during this visit.
- The Saudi prince's visit comes nearly three years after PM Modi's visit to Riyadh in 2016, during which the two nations expanded cooperation across diverse areas including trade, investment and counter-terrorism. The two nations had also inked a pact on the exchange of intelligence related to money laundering and terrorism.
- Over the last two days, the oil-rich nation has signed deals worth $20 billion with cash-strapped Pakistan. In October last year, Saudi Arabia had offered Pakistan a $6 billion loan. It also announced plans for a $10 billion refinery and petrochemical complex at the coastal city of Gwadar, where China is building a port as part of its Belt and Road initiative.
- From India, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to leave for China. His three-nation tour of South Asia comes five months after a huge diplomatic crisis following the murder of journalist and fierce critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
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