World Bulletin / News Desk
India and Saudi Arabia signed a Defense Cooperation agreement on Wednesday, after Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived in New Delhi on a three-day official visit.
The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for greater exchange of information and training after a meeting between the Crown Prince and Indian Vice-President Hamid Ansari, a former envoy to Saudi Arabia.
“A Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed between the two countries by Dr. Nizar Bin Obaid Madani, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Jitendra Singh, India’s Minister of State for Defense,” a senior official of India’s Foreign Ministry, who does not want to be named, told Anadolu Agency (AA).
The official refused to divulge further details, but it is expected that the two countries intend to work together and enhance cooperation in hydrocarbons, security, drug trafficking, and curbing the money-laundering.
Ansari welcomed the Crown Prince Salman on his arrival, which is his second Indian visit; Prince Salman first visited India in April 2010 when he was governor of Riyadh province.
The Prince Salman, who is also Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, reportedly said that his visit was a continuation of King Abdullah’s efforts to “consolidate cooperation between the two countries in all fields and enhance consultation and coordination between them on regional and international issues of common concern.”
The Crown Prince will call on President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday.
Crown Prince Salman’s India trip is the highest political visit from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after the January 2006 landmark trip by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.
India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Saudi Arabia in 2010 and signed the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ which elevated the bilateral engagement between the two countries to ‘strategic partnership’ covering security, economic, defense and political areas.
In recent years, there has been significant progress between the two nations in bilateral cooperation in key areas of mutual interest, including energy security, trade and infrastructure development projects, Information Technology and pharmaceuticals.
Saudi Arabia is India’s 4th largest partner with bilateral trade over $43 billion in 2012-13.
Saudi Arabia is also India’s largest crude oil supplier accounting for about one-fifth of India's total imports in 2012-13.
Indians form the largest expatriate community in Saudi Arabia with about 2.88 million Indian nationals working in the Kingdom.Last Mod: 27 Şubat 2014, 10:20