Anti-drug program to be launched in schools

Updated 03 May 2014
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Anti-drug program to be launched in schools

The Ministries of Interior and Education will launch an anti-drug awareness program in schools soon to counter the growing trend of youngsters smoking tobacco and then moving on to cannabis and other hard drugs.
This comes hard on the heels of two new studies conducted by the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Narcotics Control showing that 10 percent of drug-addicted Saudis started smoking at primary school, 34 percent at intermediate level, and 26 percent at high school.
Abdul Ilah Al-Sharif, assistant director general of the directorate, said school-going children are the most vulnerable. He said parents must play a bigger role in monitoring their children between 12 and 20 years of age, according to local media.
Al-Sharif said other factors play a part in young people using drugs including peer pressure and little family support. He said the government seized 45 tons of cannabis last year, compared to 23 tons over the previous three years.
He said the program would include teachers in Makkah, Jeddah, Tabuk and Riyadh in phase one. The program is an initiative of the interior ministry that had been delayed since last year until an implementation plan could be completed.
Abdullah Hijazi, the director of a private school, said many parents are not aware of their children’s activities, including them mixing with drug-using friends.
Hijazi said many students smoke drugs outside of schools hours. He urged parents to watch their children more closely including questioning them about their whereabouts.
Al-Sharif had said previously that a new technical directorate has been established to track and arrest those who use social media websites to sell drugs. “The efforts of the directorate, police and other officials were successful in foiling several attempts to smuggle and sell drugs. Last year, the authorities investigated more than 37,000 cases of smuggling, possession, using, and transportation of drugs,” he said.


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.