NEW DELHI: Saudi Indian ties began to see engagement at a high level in 2019 when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman undertook his first official trip to India.
Now that he has begun his second state visit, not only Indian politicians but also the nation’s people have noticed how close relations between the two countries have steadily become.
Many diplomatic, economic, trade, and cultural exchanges have taken place since then, especially during India’s G20 presidency this year, including intensified efforts by the Saudi Tourism Authority to promote the Kingdom’s heritage sites and mega-projects among Indians.
Arab News spoke to several young Indians in New Delhi.
Shri Sehgal, a young entrepreneur, said: “It’s amazing — our economic and trade relations and our respect for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“We have a huge amount of respect for what he is doing for Saudi Arabia and how he is growing the relationship between Saudi Arabia and India.”
He added that he had been impressed by the projects underway in Saudi Arabia as part of Vision 2030 and noted that footballing star Cristiano Ronaldo’s decision to sign for Al-Nassr last year highlighted the transformation taking place in the Kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia is developing, its cities are changing, and the arrival of Ronaldo has changed the face of Saudi football. I hope Saudi Vision 2030 will gain further momentum going forward.
“You guys are amazing. Keep it up. There’s a great future awaiting Saudis, and I believe things are only going to get better,” Sehgal said.
Abhiraj Sharma, a sales representative, said he had been following local media coverage of India’s efforts to further cement ties with Saudi Arabia.
“We’ve become close lately and the relation between us and Saudi Arabia is very good. And our prime minister is supportive of the Saudis,” he added.
While Saudi Arabia had recently been promoting the country’s tourist attractions to Indian travelers, Sharma hoped Saudis would visit India too.
He said: “To make the relationship, the bond, stronger, we want Saudis also to come here. My message to Saudis would be to come and explore India.”
Saudi Indian relations may have rapidly gained momentum in recent years, but they began growing after the Kingdom opened its doors to Indian expatriate workers.
Raju John, a hospitality professional originally from Kerala, said the Gulf connection brought sudden prosperity to his home state in the 1980s.
“Since the development boom in Saudi Arabia that began 30 or 40 years ago, the Kingdom has been providing enormous job opportunities for Indian workers.
“I have heard about the generosity and kindness of Saudis among other good qualities. I feel very happy about the fast-improving current ties between Saudi Arabia and India,” he added.