SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to arrive on state visit soon after G20 Summit in India

Next month, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is scheduled to undertake a state visit to India, which will align with his attendance at the Delhi G20 Summit.
While the summit is scheduled for the 9th and 10th of September, the Saudi crown prince’s state visit will take place on September 11th.

The visit holds significant diplomatic importance, as it involves the highest honours extended by the Indian government, including a guard of honor at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official residence of President of India in New Delhi.
This won’t be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India.

His previous state visit was in February 2019 when he was the First Deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia.

However, this time he comes to India in his capacity as the Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia.

In preparation for his visit, a high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia conducted discussions in Delhi last week.
The year 2019 also saw India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visiting the country, his second visit to the Kingdom after 2016.

The 2019 visit of PM Modi resulted in the establishment of the Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) between Saudi Arabia and India, a significant milestone. This initiative comprises two parallel tracks: the first focusing on political, security, cultural, and societal aspects, headed by both nations’ foreign ministers; the second concentrating on economic and investment matters, led by India’s Commerce and Industry Minister and the Saudi Energy Minister.

Saudi Arabia has become a key partner for India, particularly in the West Asian region.

The announcement of Saudi Arabia’s inclusion as a member of the BRICS grouping further solidifies its importance on the global stage.

In terms of trade, Saudi Arabia ranks as India’s fourth-largest trading partner. Energy security is a critical facet of this engagement, with over 18 per cent of India’s crude oil imports originating from Saudi Arabia.

In the fiscal year 2022 (April-December), bilateral trade between the two countries was valued at US$29.28 billion.

India imported goods worth US$22.65 billion from Saudi Arabia and exported goods worth US$6.63 billion during this period.

Another vital aspect of the bilateral relationship is the Indian diaspora in Saudi Arabia, particularly the large number of blue-collar workers.

The Indian community, comprising approximately 2.2 million individuals, is the largest expatriate group in the kingdom.

Moreover, the annual Hajj pilgrimage plays a crucial role in Indo-Saudi bilateral relations.

During the Crown Prince’s earlier visit to New Delhi in February 2019, it was announced that India’s Hajj quota would be increased by 24,975 in 2019, allowing 200,000 Indians to undertake the Hajj pilgrimage in August of that year.

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