PM Modi talks to Saudi leaders, Erdogan
Saudi Arabia’s deputy foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir made a six-hour-long visit to New Delhi on Monday to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also spoke on the phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and United Arab Emirate’s crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, people familiar with these developments said.
The flurry of contacts sparked speculation about influential players in the Islamic world interceding on behalf of Islamabad with New Delhi to reduce tensions following the Pulwama terror attack, claimed by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed.
There were no discussions on possible mediation in the contacts on Monday, officials said. External affairs ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar had said on Saturday there has been “no offer of mediation from any country”, including Saudi Arabia, and India is also not interested in mediation.
Official statements on the contacts said the Indian leadership had – without naming Pakistan – emphasised the importance of immediate, irreversible and verifiable action against terrorism.
Al-Jubeir’s visit was described in an external affairs ministry statement as a follow-up to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s trip last month, and the Saudi minister met Modi and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj during his trip lasting about six hours. Modi thanked the Saudi leadership for expressing full solidarity with India in the fight against terrorism. “It was agreed that Saudi Arabia and India should work together for irreversible, verifiable and credible steps against all terrorists without any discrimination,” the statement said.
During her meeting with al-Jubeir, Swaraj said “immediate, irreversible and verifiable action to dismantle terror infrastructure is essential to fight the menace”. They also agreed to set up the Strategic Partnership Council at the earliest.
Al-Jubeir also briefed Modi on the follow-up of the outcomes of the Crown Prince’s visit. Both countries have taken steps to boost trade and to achieve the investment of $100 billion from Saudi Arabia, which is India’s fourth largest trading partner and second largest supplier of crude oil. Erdogan expressed condolences for victims of recent terror attacks in India. Modi said terror is “one of the gravest threats to global peace and security” and “underscored the importance of immediate, demonstrable and irreversible action against terrorism by all concerned countries”, according to an official statement.
While speaking on phone with UAE crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Modi expressed thanks for inviting India to address the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers in Abu Dhabi as a guest of honour.