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India my second home: Saudi King

King Abdullah expressed hope that his visit would take bilateral ties between teh two nations to a new high.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 16:47 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

King Abdullah on Wednesday called India his second home and expressed hope that his visit, one by a Saudi monarch to India in 51 years, would take bilateral ties to a new high.

"I consider myself to be in a second home," Abdullah told reporters after taking the salute at a guard of honour at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the grand sandstone presidential palace.

He was warmly welcome by President APJ Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

"This visit will renew historic ties between India and Saudi Arabia," he said before beginning his talks with Manmohan Singh, who Tuesday evening broke protocol to receive the king at the airport when he arrived here from Beijing on a four-day visit.

"I would like to thank the President, the Prime Minister and the friendly people of India for their warmth and hospitality " said Abdullah, who was accompanied by a large delegation of royalty and senior officials.

Abdullah, sporting a dotted pink and white traditional Arab headscarf, was given a warm ceremonial welcome, complete with military regalia and pomp and a 21-gun salute.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed, National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and senior Indian officials were also present.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 15:21 IST