Prime Minister Manmohan Singh embarks on a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia today with an aim to bolster strategic ties including defence and security cooperation to promote greater stability in the region.
An extradition treaty and several other agreements are likely to be signed during his visit, the first by an Indian prime minister in 28 years, which is packed with a heavy agenda. Indira Gandhi was the last prime minister to visit the oil-rich Kingdom in 1982.
Noting that his visit carries "special significance", Singh said in his departure statement that the Gulf region is an area of vital importance for New Delhi's security and prosperity.
"There is great scope for opening new frontiers of cooperation in the areas of security, defence, science and technology, space, human resources development and knowledge- based industries," he said.
The prime minister said he will hold talks with King Abdullah on "how we can promote greater stability and security in the region, and impart a strategic character to our relations beyond the traditional areas of our cooperation".