PM Modi inks strategic pact to deepen ties with Saudi Arabia
PM Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed the agreement for the Strategic Partnership Council following their delegation-level talks that capped the Prime Minister’s day-long visit to the kingdom.Updated: Oct 30, 2019 08:40 IST
India and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday launched a Strategic Partnership Council to guide their ties in areas ranging from trade to energy security, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a new conflict resolution mechanism in an increasingly multipolar world.
PM Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed the agreement for the Strategic Partnership Council following their delegation-level talks that capped the Prime Minister’s day-long visit to the kingdom. The council was first mooted during the crown prince’s visit to India in February.
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The council, to be chaired by the Indian premier and the Saudi crown prince, will monitor and guide the strategic partnership and projects taken up by the two sides. The body will have two mechanisms – one under the foreign ministers of the two sides to oversee political and diplomatic relations, and another under the commerce ministers to guide trade and energy ties. Both mechanisms will report to the Indian PM and the Saudi crown prince.
The Indian Prime Minister and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and appreciated the close cooperation on security matters between the two countries. The discussion was held during a bilateral between King Salman and PM Modi.
“Called on His Majesty King Salman. He is one of the most widely respected leaders. We discussed multiple aspects relating to further boosting cooperation with Saudi Arabia,” Modi tweeted.
Delivering a keynote address at the Future Investment Initiative business forum, the brainchild of Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS as the crown prince is popularly known, Modi said the Strategic Partnership Council marks the beginning of a new era in bilateral relations.
He used the speech in Hindi to criticise the UN for its lack of success in creating a neutral global rules-based order. The UN, he said, had been used by the powerful as an instrument and the time had come for overarching reforms of the world body at a time of conflicts over land, water and space.
“When 70 years passed, we were looking for its reform but that didn’t happen. Now when the UN will be 75, all the nations should decide what should be its form; what should be the norms and what are the responsibilities,” he said.
The last and current centuries have witnessed the most efforts for peace as well as conflicts, he said, adding that there was a need for a new mechanism for conflict resolution. He further said India had never used force against anyone.
From a bipolar setup, the world has moved towards a multipolar framework that is interdependent and interconnected and countries have to change their thinking and strengthen multipolar arrangements, Modi said. While expansionism was seen as a strength in the past, the world must now pay attention to achieving a balance between human values and technology-driven changes, he added.
Modi described MBS as his “friend and brother” and said the historic links between India and Saudi Arabia dating back thousands of years had laid the strong foundation for the bilateral strategic partnership.
The Prime Minister listed technology and innovation, the importance of infrastructure in global growth, human resources, compassion for the environment and business-friendly governance as the five key trends for growth of trade and economies. He said India provides tremendous investment opportunities in view of its plans to become a $5 trillion economy in the near future and infrastructure development plans.
Modi invited Saudi companies to invest in India’s energy space, saying that the government has set a target of $100 billion investment in the sector.