New Delhi: Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman on Wednesday referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an “elder brother” and sad that he “admires” him, according to Zee News sources.

“We (me and PM Modi) are brothers. Modi is my elder brother. I am his younger brother, I admire him,” Salman said while receiving a grand welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The statement came after the Saudi Crown Prince received a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where he was received by PM Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.

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“Today we want to be sure that this relation is maintained and improved for the sake of both countries. With the leadership of the President and the PM, I am sure we can create good things for Saudi Arabia and India,” he said.

His visit comes in the backdrop of the escalating tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack carried out by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terror group in which 40 CRPF were killed.

The Crown Prince arrived in India a day after concluding his high-profile tour of Pakistan where he said dialogue was the only way to resolve “outstanding issues” between India and Pakistan.

Following New Delhi’s objection to him coming to India directly from Pakistan, Salman returned to Riyadh from Islamabad on Monday, and travelled to India on Tuesday.

In a special gesture, PM Modi broke the protocol to receive him at the Delhi airport, signifying importance India attaches to the visit by the leader of the powerful Gulf nation. In a tweet, PM Modi said India is “delighted to welcome” the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

During today’s dialogue between the two leaders, India is expected to strongly raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism.

During their talks on Wednesday, PM Modi and Salman are also expected to look at ways to enhancing defence ties, including having a joint naval exercise, official sources said.