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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

As conflict escalates in Gaza and disruptions affect maritime traffic in the Red Sea, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), held a phone conversation to address the situation. The leaders expressed their commitment to work together for peace, security, and stability in the West Asia region.

In a post on social media, Modi stated, “Held a good conversation with my Brother HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman… We exchanged views on the West Asia situation and shared concerns regarding terrorism, violence, and the loss of civilian lives. Agreed to work together for peace, security, and stability in the region.”

The leaders emphasized the importance of maintaining maritime security and the freedom of navigation. They reviewed the progress in their bilateral Strategic Partnership and discussed future collaboration. Modi conveyed greetings to Saudi Arabia on hosting Expo 2030 and the FIFA Football World Cup 2034.

Last week, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu briefed Modi on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Recent incidents, including a drone attack on the merchant vessel MV Chem Pluto and an attack on a crude oil tanker in the Red Sea, prompted joint efforts by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to counter piracy and drone threats.

As Houthi militants in Yemen targeted vessels in the Red Sea, India expressed support for the free movement of commercial shipping. The conflict has led to rerouting some ships navigating this crucial trade route.

The leaders agreed to stay in touch, underscoring the importance of collaboration amid regional challenges. The phone conversation reflects a collective effort to address security concerns and promote stability in the region.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman held their inaugural Leaders’ Meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council in Delhi on Monday, marking a significant step in strengthening bilateral relations between India and Saudi Arabia. The leaders engaged in extensive discussions encompassing various areas of cooperation, including energy security, trade and investment, defence, security, healthcare, and food security.

The meeting laid the groundwork for several key agreements, with a particular focus on energy and agriculture, signifying the commitment of both nations to enhance their economic collaboration. The Saudi Crown Prince’s visit to India, which coincided with the G20 Summit, further solidified the burgeoning economic ties between the two countries. In the fiscal year 2022-23, bilateral trade reached an all-time high of $52.75 billion, underscoring the significance of their economic partnership.

The visit also saw the launch of a substantial railway and port project, in collaboration with several countries, including India. This ambitious endeavour aims to streamline the flow of commerce, energy, and data from India across the Middle East to Europe, presenting significant opportunities for economic growth and connectivity.

The Strategic Partnership Council, established in 2019, serves as a pivotal mechanism for enhancing cooperation across diverse domains, including political, security, social, cultural, economic, and investment cooperation. The Leaders’ Meeting, co-chaired by PM Modi and the Saudi Crown Prince, underscores the commitment to elevate this partnership to new heights, fostering deeper collaboration and understanding between the two nations.

The visit also featured ceremonial aspects, including a warm welcome extended to the Saudi Crown Prince at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, highlighting the importance of diplomatic ties. Both leaders expressed optimism about the future of their bilateral relations and their shared commitment to creating a prosperous future for both nations.

As India and Saudi Arabia continue to build upon their strong economic partnership and strategic cooperation, this meeting signifies a pivotal moment in their relationship, setting the stage for further collaboration and mutual benefit on regional and international matters of concern to both countries.

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