NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with visiting Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on a wide range of issues including cross-border terrorism and ways to further strengthen the defence ties between the two countries. On Tuesday breaking protocol, PM Modi went to the Delhi Airport to receive the Saudi Crown Prince and welcomed the visiting dignitary with a tight hug. The Crown Prince arrived in Delhi on a less than 30-hour visit, a day after he finished his two-day visit to Pakistan.
Just few second after arrival of the Saudi Crown Prince, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted “A new chapter in bilateral relations. Breaking protocol, PM Narendramodi personally receives HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia as he arrives on his first bilateral visit to India!” Later today, the Saudi leader is scheduled to hold extensive discussions with Prime Minister Modi during which India is likely to raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.
It is expected that, during their talk both leaders are also look at ways to enhance the defence ties, including having a joint naval exercise, stated official sources. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the Crown Prince will leave New Delhi at around 11:50 PM on Wednesday. His visit comes in the backdrop of the escalating tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror group in which 40 CRPF were killed. During the high-profile visit to Pakistan, the Crown Prince declared his decision to invest 20 billion dollars in the country and also praised Islamabad’s ‘efforts for regional peace and security’. Further, he said that dialogue was the only way to resolve the ‘outstanding issues’ between India and Pakistan.
Earlier in a joint statement, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia also called for avoiding ‘politicisation’ of the UN listing regime at a time when India was stepping up efforts to brand the JeM terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.