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Saudi media gives wide coverage to Manmohan's visit

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Saudi Arabia, the first by an Indian prime minister in 28 years, is being widely covered by the Saudi press.

world Updated: Feb 28, 2010 13:36 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Saudi Arabia, the first by an Indian prime minister in 28 years, is being widely covered by the Saudi press.

The Arab News' front page read "Indian PM on historic visit", the daily said the visit was long overdue.

"Each has been undergoing far-reaching changes and each has set out to assert a high profile role on the world stage, for instance as members of the G20," it wrote.

Stating that high hopes rested on the renewal of what has been a historic relationship, the editorial went on to say: "Saudi Arabia's trading importance to India extends beyond the fact that we supply a quarter of India's oil needs. Our non-oil exports have grown strongly in recent years. As India's spectacular economic growth continues, Saudi capital can help finance new ventures."

The Arab News editorial also stated that Indian exports to Saudi Arabia have, meanwhile, been coming close to doubling year on year and at the end of 2008 stood at more than $3.7 billion.

"Clearly we have much to gain from India's burgeoning IT and high technology sector. With world-class facilities such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the opportunities for much closer cooperation, not least on advanced research, are obvious."

On the issue of terrorism, it said both India and Saudi Arabia have been experiencing the scourge of terror "and are watching with concern as the region now grapples with the hydra of extremism".

"A stable Pakistan is a key to wider regional security and indeed prosperity," it stated.

However, it added that the inconclusive end to last week's talks between India and Pakistan was a disappointment to all parties.

"The important factor is, however, that both New Delhi and Islamabad are talking again and in doing so recognize that it is only through negotiations, however long and hard, that a lasting settlement of their differences will be ironed out," it said.

Earlier, in an interview with the Saudi Gazette, Manmohan Singh said that tackling the the common problem of terrorism is something India would seek help from Saudi Arabia.

"Both King Abdullah and I reject the notion that any cause justifies wanton violence against innocent people," the prime minister is quoted as saying.

"We are strong allies against the scourge of extremism and terrorism that affects global peace and security."