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India, Saudi Arabia to deepen ties during PM visit

Friday, February 26, 2010 09:49:04 PM, IANS

 Hundreds of Saudi and Indian flags flutter on the streets of Riyadh to welcome Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

(Photo: Ahmed Fathi/Arab News)

Riyadh getting ready to welcome the Indian Prime Minister:

Hundreds of Saudi and Indian flags have decorated the streets of Riyadh since Tuesday to welcome Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, reports the leading Saudi ....Read Full

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Saudi Arabia Saturday on a three-day visit during which the two countries will deepen their strategic relationship, officials here said Friday.

“The visit will provide an opportunity for the two leaders (Manmohan Singh and Saudi king Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz) to review bilateral relations and discuss regional and global issues,” Lalitha Reddy, secretary (east) in the external affairs ministry, said here.


This would be in the spirit of the Delhi Declaration, signed during King Abdullah’s visit to India in 2006, Reddy said.


The Delhi Declaration charts out a path for expansion of bilateral ties across a wide range of fields.


Stating that the visit was aimed at reinforcing the strategic partnership between India and Saudi Arabia, Reddy said: “Several agreements and MoU (memorandums of understanding) representing a broad range of cooperation in the areas of security, science and technology, culture and media will be signed which will further enrich and institutionalise the strategic objectives and cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia.”


The Indian delegation will include Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma, Minister for Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad and Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.


She said the prime minister had been invited to address the Shoura Council or Saudi legislature, a honour bestowed on select dignitaries.


Bilateral trade tripled since the visit of King Abdullah and crossed $25 billion in 2008-09. “Many Indian companies are active in various sectors in Saudi Arabia,” Reddy said.


A 25-member delegation of business executives accompanying the prime minister will talk to Saudi counterparts “to establish mutually beneficial business partnerships”, Reddy said.


The prime minister will also address Saudi business leaders.

Since King Abdullah’s visit, there have been 19 ministerial-level visits between the two countries.


According to Reddy, several Saudi ministers will call on the prime minister in Riyadh.


“The prime minister will also interact with a cross section of the Indian community in Saudi Arabia, which numbers nearly 1.8 million and whose role in the development of Saudi Arabia is widely appreciated,” she said.






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