Saudi FM’s visit points to ‘growing strategic partnership’ with India

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in New Delhi. (SPA)
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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in New Delhi. (SPA)
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in New Delhi. (SPA)
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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in New Delhi. (SPA)
Saudi FM’s visit points to ‘growing strategic partnership’ with India
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Saudi FM’s visit points to ‘growing strategic partnership’ with India
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Saudi FM’s visit points to ‘growing strategic partnership’ with India
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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in New Delhi. (SPA)
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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in New Delhi. (SPA)
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Updated 21 September 2021

Saudi FM’s visit points to ‘growing strategic partnership’ with India

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in New Delhi. (SPA)
  • Prince Faisal meets Modi; tells local media Riyadh-New Delhi ties ‘major priority’

NEW DELHI: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, concluding his two-day visit to the South Asian nation that experts said was a step forward in bolstering bilateral ties.
Officials remained tight-lipped about the agenda of the meeting, and the Foreign Ministry did not release details either.

But the Saudi official’s visit marks the first high-level interaction between the two nations since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak early last year.

Dr. Muddassir Quamar, from the Institute of Defense Studies and Analysis, a New Delhi based think  tank, said that it “signifies the intent of both nations to overcome the disruptions caused by the pandemic.”

“The fact that the Saudi minister has come for a stand-alone visit to India is significant in terms of bilateral relations. In terms of economic, bilateral and trade ties, investments are the pillar and backbone of Saudi and India’s relationship,” Quamar told Arab News.

He cited figures from the past five to six years showing Saudi investment in India was $50 million in 2014, and almost $3 billion today”.

“Though it has not reached the target of $100 billion investment which both the countries set out to achieve in 2019, this will not take much time,” Quamar, associate editor, Contemporary Review of the Middle East, explained.
Others said that it would cement India’s role with “critical and strategic investments” in the Kingdom.

“The visit of the Saudi foreign minister is very timely and a continuum of our growing strategic partnership across the whole spectrum,” Anil Trigunayat, former Indian ambassador to Jordan and Libya, told Arab News.
“While the Kingdom has ambitious plans in accordance with its Vision 2030, India is also looking forward to greater critical and strategic investments which will be futuristic and mutually beneficial,” he said.
Trigunayat said that maritime and cybersecurity, technological collaboration, including green sectors, would be the “new areas for closer cooperation.” Quamar agreed, adding that Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy priority “makes India a favorite destination for investment.”
“The global economic nerve center is shifting from the west to Asia, and Saudi Arabia is the country whose foreign policy aspect is an investment. It can invest in a growing market. It is a strategic step that Riyadh is choosing to invest in India,” he said.
“One very important thing that we ignore is the growing security and defense partnership between India and Saudi Arabia. Since 2008, the security and defense relations between both the nations have gone up — both in terms of counter-terrorism and military-to-military relationship,” he said.
On Sunday, Prince Faisal met Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar, who described the talks as a “cordial and productive meeting.”
The two officials also reviewed progress in implementing the Strategic Partnership Council Agreement, signed during Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in October 2019, and agreed to “work closely” to deal with pandemic-related challenges, a statement by India’s foreign ministry said.
Later, in interviews with local media, Prince Faisal said that Saudi Arabia’s relationship with India was “critically important to us.”
“It’s a major priority,” he told New Delhi-based English daily, The Times of India, adding that his visit was intended to “make sure the momentum in the relationship keeps going.”
“The depth and breadth of the relationship have expanded exponentially over the past four years, driven to a great extent by . . . prime minister Modi and the (Saudi) king and the crown prince . . . politically, of course, also . . . in the security field, counter-terrorism, counter-extremism areas where we work closely together,” Saudi’s top diplomat said.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia pledged a $100 billion investment in India, with Prince Faisal saying that despite the “challenges” posed by the pandemic, India had become the Kingdom’s third-largest trade partner.
“It’s a significant growth in both trade and also investment. When this announcement was made, we had $500 million direct investments, and we are more than $3 billion now,” he told English daily, The Hindu, on Monday.
According to Indian foreign ministry data, more than two million Indians live and work in the Kingdom. However, the COVID-19 pandemic rendered thousands jobless, with a majority unable to return to work due to travel curbs.
Jaishankar urged an early resumption of direct flights to Saudi Arabia, while both nations “agreed to work closely on all COVID-19-related challenges.”
In April and May, Saudi Arabia supplied more than 140 tons of medical oxygen to India to help it amid a deadly second wave of the coronavirus that claimed the lives of more than 400,000 people.


Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program
Updated 19 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program

Saudi Arabia’s MiSK launches youth leadership program
  • 160 students will participate in the first edition of the program, hosted by the Royal Commission in Yanbu

RIYADH: The Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MiSK) is launching an educational program to guide future leaders and enhance their capabilities to overcome challenges.
The “Leaders of Tomorrow” program includes a training camp that takes participants on a field trip to the center of Yanbu.
The program, which will be launched at the end of November, will be the first physical training since programs became distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Secondary school and university students will take part in a self-challenging journey that represents a unique opportunity to discover their potential in facing difficulties and solving problems, and work with a team of mentors to hone their skills and prepare them to succeed as leaders in taking on challenges on their own.
In its first edition, hosted by the Royal Commission in Yanbu, 160 students aged between 17 and 24 will participate in the program. They were accepted after a nomination process that began last March.
The “Leaders of Tomorrow” program is one of a series of programs launched by the foundation to prepare young people to chart a promising path for themselves through its work.


Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)
Updated 53 min 22 sec ago

Saudi, US navies begin mixed maritime exercise to protect Red Sea

The Royal Saudi Naval Forces and the US Navy launch the Indigo Defender — 21 bilateral naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet. (SPA)

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Naval Forces (RSNF) and the US Navy on Sunday launched a mixed joint naval exercise in the Kingdom’s Western Fleet, the ministry of defense announced.
The “Indigo Defender — 21” exercise was launched in the presence of Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, the Assistant commander of the Western Fleet and commander of the exercise, Rear Admiral Mansour bin Saud Al-Juaid, and Col. Daniel Bailey of the US Navy.
The exercise’s commander said the 10-day maneuvers aim to strengthen relations and military cooperation, raise the level of combat readiness and preparedness between the RSNF and the US Navy.
It also aims to exchange expertise in the field of port protection, clearing land and underwater mines, and contribute to developing security capabilities by protecting and securing the regional and international waterways to ensure freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.


Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon
Updated 2 min 53 sec ago

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

Saudi Arabia warns citizens against travel to Lebanon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned its citizens not to travel to Lebanon after seven people were killed in clashes in Beirut last week.
“In view of the current security events in Lebanon, and based on a decision by the Ministry of Interior to prevent direct and indirect travel of citizens to a number of countries without obtaining prior permission from the concerned authorities, including Lebanon,” the foreign ministry said.
The ministry called on citizens to follow instructions issued by relevant authorities, and on those in Lebanon to take precaution and stay away from gatherings, “due to their potential threat to citizens’ security and safety.”
On Thursday, seven people were killed in violence in Beirut as crowds headed for a protest called by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its Shiite ally Amal.


Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

Saudi and Chinese foreign ministers discuss bilateral cooperation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Sunday made a phone call to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
During the call, aspects of Saudi-Chinese relations and areas of cooperation between the two countries were reviewed, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.
The two sides also discussed regional and international developments and efforts made to enhance security and stability, in addition to discussing the most prominent issues of common interest.


Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan
Updated 17 October 2021

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan

Saudi crown prince launches strategic offices to develop Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan
  • The offices will aim to capitalize on the advantages that each of the three regions have to offer
  • They are part of the crown prince’s vision to bring about comprehensive and sustainable development in all regions

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's crown prince announced on Sunday the launch of strategic offices to develop the areas of Al-Baha, Al-Jouf, and Jazan.
The offices will form the basis for the establishment of development authorities in the regions. They will aim to capitalize on the advantages that each of the three areas have to offer, Saudi Press Agency reported.
They will also ensure the development of a strong investment environment attracting private sector engagement.
The announcement of the strategic offices comes as part of the government’s strategy to extend development to all regions and cities of the Kingdom.
Prince Mohammed said that other strategic offices would be established in areas where there are not yet any development agencies.
These strategic offices will focus on investing in the distinct features and advantages of each region to transform them into sustainable and permanent economic drivers.
The offices will include the private sector in the development plans.
They are part of the crown prince’s vision to bring about comprehensive and sustainable development in all regions of the Kingdom, expanding job opportunities, and improving living standards by upgrading basic services and infrastructure. 
Al-Baha is considered one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Kingdom. The region includes a large number of forests and is home to many ancient villages and forts.
Al-Jouf is known as the “food basket of the Kingdom” as it contains fertile land with abundant water resources. It is responsible for about 67 percent of the Kingdom’s olive oil production.
Jazan is home to the Farasan Islands and Jazan Port which is considered to be the third largest port on the Red Sea Coast.