Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, said the Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) agreement would strengthen relations between the two countries. PM Modi said both sides had been working together within the G20 to reduce inequality and promote sustainable development. This is Modi's second visit to the Kingdom in three years.
Modi said Saudi Arabia was an important and reliable energy supplier to meet India's requirements. He also spoke about interactions with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman, also known as MBS. "Since my first visit to the Kingdom in 2016, I have personally witnessed a remarkable growth in our bilateral relations. I have met His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman five times. I recall with warmth my previous meetings with him, and look forward to meeting him again during this visit."
Landed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, marking the start of an important visit aimed at strengthening ties with a valued friend. Will be taking part in a wide range of programmes during this visit. pic.twitter.com/3MskcllePr- Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 28, 2019
On the Strategic Partnership Council, Modi said, "We will begin a new era of cooperation across sectors." Modi said global economic outlook was strongly dependent on path chartered by large developing countries such as India. "As I mentioned in my speech at the UN General Assembly in September, we sincerely believe that we need collective efforts, for the growth of all, with everyone's trust," he added.
Talking about recent initiatives taken by India to woo foreign investors, the PM said: "Our reforms for ease of doing business and introducing investor-friendly initiatives have contributed to improving our position in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2019."
During the present visit, Modi will hold bilateral discussions with MBS. Besides, Modi will also deliver a keynote address at the third Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum, widely seen as the most important economic forum in the Middle East.
As part of SPC, India will become the fourth country after the UK, France and China, with which the Kingdom will form a strategic partnership. The SPC will have two parallel tracks: political, security, culture and society, headed by both countries' foreign ministers; and economy and investment, headed by India's commerce and industry minister and the Saudi energy minister.
Edited by Manoj Sharma