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India – Saudi Arabia

  • Category
    World Affairs
  • Published
    28th Feb, 2019
  • Mohammed bin Salman’s recent visit to India was seen as a watershed moment in boosting defense and security cooperation.
  • Apart from these two broad themes, it appeared that India and Saudi Arabia are trying to move beyond energy relationships.

Issue

Context  

  • Mohammed bin Salman’s recent visit to India was seen as a watershed moment in boosting defense and security cooperation.
  • Apart from these two broad themes, it appeared that India and Saudi Arabia are trying to move beyond energy relationships.

About

  • Saudi Arabia has long been an important Indian trade partner.

The Kingdom remains a vital source of energy for India, which imports almost a fifth of its crude oil requirement from Saudi Arabia.

Background

  • For years, the Saudi Arabia-India relationship had always been shadowed by the Kingdom’s close ties with Pakistan.
  • That has changed, while Riyadh retains strong ties to Islamabad, there is no longer an “either-or” element, and the Kingdom has demonstrated geopolitical diversification in its relations with South Asia.
  • The rise of jihadist extremism, the gradual decline of American power, and the rise of China have brought about transformational changes in India’s engagements with the Gulf region.
  • India’s Prime Minister has demonstrated an increased willingness to cooperate with Saudi Arabia on a variety of security issues such as joint military exercises, intelligence sharing, counterterrorism, anti-money laundering, and terror financing.
  • On the face of it, much of the deliberations have been shrouded over “terror talks”: The historic visit of King Abdullah to India in 2006 had laid solid ground for the India-Saudi relationship.
  • The “Delhi Declaration,” signed between the two countries during his visit, stressed that terrorism was a scourge that “the governments would closely and actively cooperate” to fight against.
  • The “Riyadh Declaration” signed in 2010 during then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Saudi Arabia emphasized cooperation on information exchange on terrorism.
  • Enhanced security cooperation has added a new dimension in the bilateral ties between New Delhi and Riyadh.
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