Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Riyadh late on Monday night on a two-day visit, during which he will attend the third edition of Saudi Arabia’s high-profile annual financial conference and hold bilateral talks with top leadership of the Gulf Kingdom. “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,” the prime minister tweeted.
He will deliver the keynote address under the title ‘What’s next for India?’ at the Future Investment Initiative (FII), which is dubbed as ‘Davos in the Desert’.
Besides addressing the forum he will hold bilateral talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The two sides are expected to sign a number of agreements in several key sectors including oil and gas, renewable energy and civil aviation to bolster their ties.
In a departure statement, PM Modi said he is visiting the Kingdom at the invitation of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
"India and Saudi Arabia have enjoyed traditionally close and friendly relations. Saudi Arabia has been one of the largest and reliable suppliers of India's energy needs," the PM said in the statement.
"The Crown Prince during his visit to New Delhi in February 2019 committed to invest over US$100 billion in sectors of priority in India. Defence, security, trade, culture, education and people-to-people contacts are the other important areas of bilateral cooperation with Saudi Arabia," he said.
He noted that defence, security, trade, culture, education and people-to-people contacts are the other important areas of bilateral cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
This would be Prime Minister Modi’s second visit to the Gulf Kingdom. During his first visit in 2016, King Salman conferred Saudi’s highest civilian award on him. The Crown Prince visited India in February 2019, giving a further fillip to the bilateral ties.
India’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing over the last few years. India’s bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia was at USD 27.48 billion in 2017-18, making Saudi Arabia its fourth largest trading partner.