After concluding his two-day historic visit to Pakistan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman returned to Riyadh on Monday before travelling to India on Tuesday night.
“At the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his royal highness Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, crown prince, deputy prime minister and minister of defence of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is paying his first state visit to India on 19 and February 20, 2019,” Kahleej Times reported citing announcement by the Saudi Ministry of External Affairs.
According to Arab News, the Saudi prince is expected to announce a $1 billion investment in India’s infrastructure and farming sectors during his first visit to the South Asian nation.
During the forthcoming visit, he will call on Indian president and vice president. He will hold bilateral talks with PM Modi on a wide range of issues of mutual interest.
This visit follows a trip by the Indian premier to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, during which the two countries agreed to elevate their strategic partnership.
“India and Saudi Arabia have historically enjoyed close and friendly relations anchored in mutually beneficial partnership and extensive people to people contacts. In recent years, there has been significant progress in bilateral cooperation in key areas of mutual interest, including energy security, trade, investment, infrastructure, defence and security,” the announcement said.
Saudi-India bilateral trade was $27.48 billion during the year 2017-18, making Saudi Arabia India’s fourth largest trading partner. The kingdom contributes about 20% of India’s crude requirements.
“About 2.7 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia. Their positive and highly-appreciated contribution to the development of their host country has been an important anchor of bilateral engagement. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage to over 175,000 Indians every year,” the ministry added.
After India visit, the crown prince is scheduled to visit China, accrding to Indian media.
During his Pakistan visit, Prince Mohammed has stressed that dialogue is the only way to resolve outstanding issues between the two nuclear-armed neighbours – India and Pakistan – and ensure peace and stability in the region.
He also praised the steps taken by Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan towards forging better ties with India.
The royal guest also joined Premier Imran in strongly condemning the atrocities and human rights violations committed against Muslims around the world.