PM Modi, Saudi Crown Prince review ties with focus on connectivity and defence
This was the first contact between top leaders of the two countries since China brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday reviewed bilateral cooperation and discussed ways to bolster relations in connectivity, energy and defence.
The matters figured in a telephone conversation between the two leaders, according to a readout from the external affairs ministry.
This was the first contact between top leaders of the two countries since China brokered a rapprochement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Iranian side announced the reopening of its missions in Saudi Arabia this week.
“The leaders reviewed a number of issues of bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on various multilateral and global issues of mutual interest,” the readout said.
“Spoke to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince & PM HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Discussed boosting ties in connectivity, energy, defence, trade & investment, and exchanged views on regional and global issues,” Modi said in a tweet.
“Appreciated his support in safe evacuation of Indians from Sudan and for Haj,” he added.
The readout added that Modi thanked Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS as he is popularly known, for “Saudi Arabia’s excellent support during evacuation of Indian nationals from Sudan via Jeddah in April”. Modi also conveyed his best wishes for the upcoming Haj pilgrimage.
The Saudi crown prince “conveyed his full support” to India’s initiatives as part of its ongoing G20 presidency and said he looks forward to his visit to India for the G20 Summit in September.
The two leaders agreed to remain in touch, the readout said.
Saudi Arabia has emerged in recent years as one of India’s key partners in West Asia, especially in defence and energy. Saudi Arabia is also home to 2.6 million Indians, one of the largest concentrations of expatriates in the region.