Modi to visit Saudi Arabia on invitation of King Salman

Indian PM says he will visit the Kingdom next month to 'expand and deepen bilateral relations' with Saudi Arabia.─AFP/FileIndian PM says he will visit the Kingdom next month to ‘expand and deepen bilateral relations’ with Saudi Arabia.─AFP/File

MUMBAI: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced Monday that he will be visiting Saudi Arabia between April 2 and April 3 on the invitation of King Salman.

The Indian premier announced the decision on his official Facebook page, adding that he plans to work with the Saudi leadership to ‘expand and deepen our bilateral relations’.

Modi maintained that one of the key objectives of his visit will be to convince prominent Saudi businesses to partner with India’s development priorities.

“Our economic ties are expanding. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner, and is also India’s largest crude oil supplier,” read the statement.

It must be noted that on the death of Salman’s predecessor, King Abdullah last year, India sent its Vice President Hamid Ansari to Riyadh to pay respects.

In addition, the Indian government had announced a day of mourning on January 24, 2015 for the “close ally and friend” of the country.

In 2006, when King Abdullah visited India as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade, the trip was hailed as a milestone. The first visit by a Saudi king to India in 51 years, it saw the signing of the “Delhi Declaration” forging a strategic energy partnership between the two nations.

Saudi Arabia is still India’s biggest provider of crude oil. -Dawn

THE PASHTUN TIMES

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