New Delhi: In a significant move, Saudi Arabia joined India’s bid to blacklist Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) Chief Masood Azhar. This comes hours after France decided to move a resolution at the United Nations to list the Jaish Chief as a “global terrorist”.
Further, Saudi has vowed to extend all cooperation to and other neighbouring countries to deal with “terrorism and extremism” which it recognised as “common concern”.
“Terrorism and extremism is a common concern. We want to tell India that we will cooperate with them on intelligence sharing…not just with India but with our neighbours as well. We thank India for the positive role in this,” Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman said on Wednesday during his visit to India.
Mohammad Bin Salman 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. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the talks were “extensive and successful”.
Minister of External Affairs (MEA) said that as of now, Saudi Arabia has not offered to mediate between India and Pakistan at this point in time.
It added that, “The two leaders (PM Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attack on Indian forces in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Further, the MEA said that both the leaders underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the United Nations while underlining the complicity of Pakistan in Pulwama attacks. They agreed on the need for creating necessary conditions for any resumption of talks.
“Saudi Crown Prince also appreciated the consistent efforts made by PM Modi since May 2014, including his personal initiatives to have friendly relations with Pakistan. Both sides agreed on the need for creation of conditions necessary for resumption of the comprehensive dialogue,” the MEA further said.
In his address, PM Modi called for global action against countries supporting terrorism and terror groups, without naming Pakistan.
“We (India and Saudi Arabia) have also agreed that stronger bilateral cooperation in areas such as counter-terrorism, maritime security and cyber security will be beneficial for both nations,” PM Modi added.
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.
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.
Notably, Saudi Arabia has declared to invest $100 billion in India- a huge vote of confidence in the Indian economy. PM Modi welcomed the announcement by the Crown Prince to invest in areas like energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.
India’s bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia was USD 27.48 billion in 2017-18, making Saudi Arabia its fourth largest trading partner. Saudi Arabia is also a key pillar of India’s energy security, being a source of 17 per cent or more of crude oil and 32 per cent of LPG requirements of India.
The Crown Prince is expected to travel to China from India.