Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Saudi Arabia on April 2….writes COT Azeez
Indian Prime Minister Modi’s aides are quietly working on his visit to Saudi Arabia, the most influential Islamic country. During his trip, Modi will hold talks with King Salman. They will discuss key regional and international developments as well as trade and energy issues.
Anti-terrorism measures will also figure high on the agenda of talks between the two leaders, according to sources.
India and Saudi Arabia hold cordial bilateral relations. Former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had visited the Kingdom in 2010 (after a gap of 28 years by any Indian PM)
After Modi’s hugely successful trip to UAE, his aides and BJP leader’s expectations from his proposed tour to Saudi Arabia have gone up and they have their reasons for that.
Saudi Arabian king Salman Bin Abdulaziz and Modi have already struck a personal rapport. Two of them met in November 2014 on the sidelines of G20 meeting in Brisbane, Abdulaziz was then crown prince and is the King now. He called Modi as “friend of friendly nations
A few months back Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani had visited New Delhi. External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj traveled to Egypt and was conscious to point out that India’s relations with Israel would not affect strength of relations with Palestine and Arab nations.
The trip to Saudi Arabia gains political or social significance because the Indian Muslim community looks up to the Arab world for religious and spiritual guidance as also of monetary support for social, cultural and educational purposes. Since Saudi Arabia is home to Mecca and Medina, has a very special place in minds of Muslims.
More over, a huge number of Indians- around three million are in Saudi Arabia. That is the largest expatriate population of the Kingdom.
Saudi is also India’s largest supplier of crude, accounting for almost one fifth of its needs, as also the fourth largest trading partner. In October last year, Modi had sent Dharmendra Pradhan, union minister for petroleum and natural gas for improving business relations in oil sector.
There is possibility that he might travel beyond Saudi capital Riyadh to Jeddah, which is termed as gateway to Mecca, and have some important engagements.