Saudi Arabia, S. Korea enhance nuclear safety cooperation

Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh
Updated 21 December 2016
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Saudi Arabia, S. Korea enhance nuclear safety cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has sent about 40 technical personnel to South Korea for training in the field of nuclear safety, safety regulations and technical know-how, to establish an infrastructure for nuclear power safety control systems.
A delegation from the Riyadh-based King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KACARE) will also visit Seoul to discuss how to expand further cooperation in nuclear field.
“This important training program has been organized within the framework of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) recently signed between KACARE and South Korea’s Nuclear Safety and Security Commission (NSSC),” said Korean Ambassador Kwon Pyung-oh, here Monday. Kwon pointed out that “the Saudi personnel will undergo training for two to three years at the NSSC facilities.”
In the interview, the Korean envoy spoke about the growing bilateral relations with special reference to the agreement between the two countries in the field of nuclear energy and safeguards. He said that the Saudi-Korean Joint Commission Meeting will be held during the first half of next year, when both sides will discuss a range of issues including cooperation programs in different sectors.
Referring to the deployment of Saudi technical personnel to Seoul for training, the envoy pointed out that the trainees would gain experiences and practice in the areas of regulating nuclear safety, safeguards, and physical and radiation protection, besides working jointly on relevant research projects.
Among the areas of cooperation will be research and development of nuclear safety technology; nuclear safety regulation— compilation and implementation of safety regulations; safety inspections of nuclear power plants; and nuclear power plant construction. It also covers equipment supervision and administration; nuclear emergency preparedness; radiation monitoring and protection; safety in radioactive waste management; and other areas that could be mutually agreed upon later.
The cooperation is to be carried out through the exchange of information and staff, as well as by launching joint studies. The MoU between KACARE and NSSC, signed last month, followed the inter-governmental agreement the two countries, signed in November 2011, on cooperation in the development and implementation of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In March 2015, South Korea and Saudi Arabia signed another MoU to jointly promote the System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor (SMART).
The Kingdom is committed to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and has also signed nuclear cooperation agreements with other countries including Argentina, China, Finland, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Russia.


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.