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PM likely to visit Saudia Arabia in May

india Updated: Feb 11, 2007 12:58 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to visit Saudi Arabia in May as relations between the two countries are poised to strengthen in coming months.

"I have information that Singh will visit Riyadh in May," Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who is leading a delegation of MPs to Saudi Arabia, said.

The veteran parliamentarian said he would like his own parliamentary delegation's visit to be a demonstration of the transformation that has taken place in Saudi-Indian relations during the past year.

"We would like to contribute to the development of Saudi-Indian relations further during this trip... The present warmth in bilateral relations is visible in Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah's visit to India early last year, who was only the second Saudi king to visit India," Chatterjee said.

King Saud was the first Saudi monarch to visit India in 1955. On India's part only two prime ministers have visited Saudi Arabia - Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956 and Indira Gandhi in 1982.

About the growing relations between Saudi Arabia and India, he said both countries are eager to expand and diversify their economic ties beyond the traditional supply of oil.

Saudi Arabia is currently India's largest supplier of oil. The two-way trade stands at over USD 7 billion per annum with the balance of trade in favour of the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is the 15th largest destination for Indian exports, while more than 106 Saudi-Indian joint ventures are in operation in the Kingdom alone besides 50 joint ventures currently operating in India.

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