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With us they invest in our robust economy, in Pakistan they bailout: India on Riyadh's $20 billion investment in Pak

File photo of PM Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. (Image was tweeted by PM Modi). Photograph:( Twitter )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 18, 2019, 07.09 PM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Terror, investment and welfare of the Indian community will on the agenda during Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's two-day visit to India starting Tuesday. The terror attack in Pulwama will also be a topic of discussion between Prime Minister Modi and the Crown Prince.

Prince Salman was on a two-day state visit to Pakistan from February 17 to 18 where he has announced investments of $20 billion. Saudi Arabia had last year given a $6 billion bailout to Pakistan.

Asked about the recent announcement of $20 billion investment, a top government source told WION, "Can't compare ties Saudi has with India, to Pakistan. When they invest in India, they invest in a robust economy. They are not here to bail out India."

Adding further the source noted, "Our relationship has radically transformed in the last few years. We are looking at joint naval exercise. Someone who should be worried, it is Pakistan."

On terror, the source said, "Saudi has a far better understanding of our position on Kashmir and the kind of terrorism we have been facing."

India is hoping that Saudi Arabia will curtail its funding to Pakistan should it not curb its support to terror groups based on its soil. 

Interestingly, the Crown Prince did not head to India straight after concluding his Pak visit. Instead, he went back to Riyadh and will reach New Delhi on Tuesday evening. 

This will be the second meeting between PM Modi and the Saudi Crown Prince in a span of three months. They last met on November 29 in Argentina on the sidelines of the G20 summit. 

"One the issues which could come up for discussion is trade. Investment, defence, security including counter-terrorism are the others. Renewable energy which is something that is coming up as an important area of cooperation," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said during his briefing last week.

Prime Minister Modi had visited Riyadh in April 2016. Saudi Arabia's King Salman had honoured him with the "Sash of King Abdulaziz", the highest civilian decoration awarded by the West Asian country. 

Saudi Arabia is India's fourth-largest trading partner after China, the US and Japan. India imports 17 per cent of its crude oil requirement from the kingdom. Bilateral trade between India and Saudi Arabia stood at $27.48 billion in 2017-18, a year-on-year increase of 9.56 per cent. 

Crown Prince Salman is Saudi Arabia's second-most important person after the king and his designated successor. Saudi Arabia, of course, is one of the world's largest oil producers.

A 2.7 million-strong Indian community lives in Saudi Arabia. The Haj pilgrimage is an important component of the bilateral relations between the two countries. In 2018, Riyadh increased the Indian Haj quota by 5,000, enabling 1,75,025 Indians to undertake the pilgrimage last year.
 

Story highlights

Prince Salman was on a two-day state visit to Pakistan from February 17 to 18 where he has announced investments of $20 billion. Saudi Arabia had last year given a $6 billion bailout to Pakistan.