Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledges commitment to Saudi-Indian relations

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India and Saudi Arabia’s relationship will be maintained for thousands of years, the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said at an official welcoming in New Delhi. (SPA)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a ceremonial reception at the presidential palace in New Delhi on February 20, 2019. (SPA)
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India and Saudi Arabia’s relationship will be maintained for thousands of years, the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said at an official welcoming in New Delhi. (SPA)
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India's President Ram Nath Kovind (C) looks on as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (L) and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi shake hands during a ceremonial reception at the presidential palace in New Delhi on February 20, 2019. (AFP)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) inspects a guard of honour during a ceremonial reception at the presidential palace in New Delhi on February 20, 2019. (AFP)
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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (C) inspects a guard of honour during a ceremonial reception at the presidential palace in New Delhi on February 20, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 21 February 2019

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledges commitment to Saudi-Indian relations

  • The crown prince says his visit to India will improve centuries-old ties which he said are “in our DNA”
  • The prime minister will host a lunch for the visiting dignitaries, while in the evening President Ram Nath Kovind will host a banquet in honor of the Saudi crown prince

DUBAI: India and Saudi Arabia’s relationship will be maintained for thousands of years, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman said after a ceremonial welcoming in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Stopping briefly to speak to journalists, he said his visit to India would improve centuries-old ties which he said are “in our DNA.”

“We want to be sure India and Saudi Arabia’s relationship is maintained for thousands of years,” the crown prince said, flanked by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind.

“I believe there’s a lot of Saudi work in India,” he added.

The crown prince also met with India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries.

The crown prince, who arrived in India on Tuesday night after visiting Pakistan, will take part in talks with Modi that are expected to be wide-ranging.

The countries' two-way trade totaled $27.5 billion last year.

The prime minister will also host a lunch for the visiting dignitaries, while in the evening President Ram Nath Kovind will host a banquet in honor of the Saudi crown prince, who is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes ministers, senior officials and leading Saudi businessmen.


US Secretary of Defense Esper meets King Salman, asks NATO to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran

King Salman receives US Secretary of Defense. (SPA)
Updated 31 min 37 sec ago

US Secretary of Defense Esper meets King Salman, asks NATO to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran

  • The meeting with King Salman tackled joint security and defense issues
  • Esper will urge allies to contribute more to the defense of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region to counter Iran’s threats

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper in his office on Tuesday to discuss strategic cooperation between Riyadh and Washington, state news agency SPA reported.
“Today, I discussed the deployment of US forces and equipment to #SaudiArabia with @KingSalman,” Esper tweeted following the meeting. 

The meeting, where top officials from both countries were also present, also tackled joint security and defense issues and the situation in the region.
“We agree with the need to take a firm defensive stance in the region to deter Iranian malign behavior and promote stability,” he added.
Esper then met Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to review bilateral relations, particularly in the military and defense sectors, as well as a number of issues of mutual interest and regional and international developments.
The US defense secretary arrived in the Kingdom a day earlier on an unannounced visit, with tensions simmering between Washington and Tehran, and Russia seeking to boost its influence in the Middle East.
US-Iran tensions have risen to new highs since May 2018, when the Trump administration withdrew from an international accord that put limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for easing sanctions.
As reinstated sanctions put pressure on Iran’s economy, there have been a series of attacks which Washington and close allies blame on Tehran. Iran denies responsibility.
Also on Tuesday, the US defense secretary visited the Prince Sultan Air Base, where he met with troops and assessed the capabilities that the US has deployed to the region to help defend Saudi Arabia, deter Iran and prevent conflict.

Esper got a look at one of the Patriot batteries as he toured the military base.

Esper said he will urge allies later this week to contribute more to the defense of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region to counter threats from Iran.
The plan is part of a broader US effort to get NATO allies to take on more responsibility for Gulf security. That has included US pleas for nations to send ships, aircraft and air defense systems to the region.
The US has already agreed to send three Patriot missile batteries, dozens of fighter jets and other aircraft to Saudi Arabia. 
He says the Saudis will “help underwrite” some of the US costs for the additional aid, which includes about 3,000 American troops.