India applauds Saudi Arabia's support as it attends the G20 summit in New Delhi
India applauds Saudi Arabia's support as it attends the G20 summit in New Delhi

Riyadh: After the top diplomats of the world's 20 largest economies met in New Delhi on Friday, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and India spoke about world events.

The second high-level ministerial meeting under India's G20 presidency this year began with the arrival of the foreign ministers of the Group of 20, which consists of the US, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Russia, China, and the EU.

Tensions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine dominated the discussions on Thursday, making it impossible for them to reach a consensus that would have allowed them to deliver a joint statement at the summit's conclusion.

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Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, the foreign minister of India, had one-on-one conversations with a few of the attendees after the G20 summit.

He claimed to have discussed "global developments" with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan in a morning meeting.

Jaishankar tweeted, "Good conversation this morning with FM Faisal bin Farhan of Saudi Arabia. Respect Saudi Arabia's participation in the G20. Also covered were world events.

Prince Faisal "reiterated the importance of resolving conflicts and political tensions hindering effective action on facing global challenges and exacerbating economic fragmentation" during the G20 meeting's session on promoting multilateralism, development cooperation, food and energy security, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

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Additionally, he "praised the efforts of the Indian government during its presidency of the G20," noting that New Delhi has been working to strengthen multilateral action in light of the current political and economic difficulties facing the world.

According to experts, the Saudi foreign minister's interactions with Indian officials have improved relations between the two nations regarding international politics.

The primary feature of Saudi foreign policy is that it is independent and founded on strategic autonomy. In terms of strategy, the Kingdom is now very similar to India, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who spoke to Arab News.

The need for cooperation between countries of the South is the most crucial component of the G20 message currently reaching me. I don't see any chance of Western nations engaging in any meaningful discussion about international issues anytime soon.

Talmiz asserted that it was now necessary for nations like Saudi Arabia and India to bolster their bilateral ties.

The time is right for New Delhi and Riyadh to increase cooperation, according to Muddassir Quamar, a fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi and an expert on the Middle East.

He told Arab News that there was "immense political and diplomatic momentum" in favour of fostering closer ties.

"The two sides have been cooperating on these issues at the G20 as well as other forums. They have many mutual and shared interests when it comes to issues of the Global South, including climate change, net zero, and so on."

Saudi Arabia and India are natural economic and strategic partners, according to Mohammed Soliman, director of the Strategic Technologies and Cyber Security Program at the Middle East Institute in Washington. Both countries are asserting their status as significant G20 countries and aspire to strategic autonomy.

As the G20 develops into the de facto global governance mechanism, Delhi and Riyadh seek to present a middle ground between Washington and Brussels on the one hand, and Beijing and Moscow on the other, he said.

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The two countries' shared goal of establishing more direct channels, which are essential to coordinating their positions on regional issues as well as the G20, is reflected in the meetings between the Saudi foreign minister and Indian leaders in Delhi.

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