India-Saudi Arabia Constitute Strategic Partnership council

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    4th Nov, 2019

Context

PM Modi announced the formation of the India-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council that will be led by the leaderships of both countries. The announcement was made in the Saudi capital Riyadh where PM Modi paid a visit recently.

About

  • A key takeaway of the PM visit to Saudi Arabia is the Strategic Partnership Council.
  • 12 MoUs on issues such as preventing narcotics trafficking, renewable energy, training of diplomats, defence industry production, security collaboration, Haj related cooperation, Atal Innovation Mission, bilateral air services and the use of RuPay cards in Saudi Arabia were inked.
  • Apart from defence, the two sides are keen to enhance maritime security cooperation and are considering joint naval exercises in 2020
  • India and Saudi Arabia firmed their strategic partnership by signing an agreement to form a council headed by Prime Minister Modi and King Salman.
  • It would enable regular monitoring of the progress of the strategic partnership.
  • The council will have two parallel mechanisms under it — one to look at political and diplomatic ties and the second to supervise commercial and energy ties.
  • This is a major development since Saudi Arabia is now only the fourth country with whom India has an inter-governmental mechanism headed by the prime minister. Germany, Russia and Japan are the other three.

Recent Developments:

  • Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi was the Chief Guest of the 2017 Republic Day of India.
  • India was designated as the Guest of Honour country at Abu Dhabi Music and Art festival 2018.
  • India and UAE signed an MOU for cooperation in Africa.
  • India UAE had their first bilateral Naval exercise in March 2018 named ‘Gulf Star 1’, which took place off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
  • India UAE signed a currency swap agreement in December last year which will boost trade and economic relationships between two countries and reduce India’s dependence on the US dollars.
  • Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) has signed an agreement to explore storing Crude oil in the Indian Strategic Reserve in Padur.
  • ADNOC also filled up 1.5 million tonnes of crude oil in Mangalore strategic reserve, the only foreign and private player so far to have invested in storing in Indian strategic reserve.
  • Abu Dhabi government allotted land for the construction of the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi. There are two Hindu temples in the UAE, both in Dubai.
  • UAE and India signed an MOU in the field of manpower exploring the possibility of linking their respective e-platforms for the benefit and welfare of Indian workers going to UAE.
  • India and UAE are fast-tracking food corridor.
  • This will entail investment by UAE in the Indian agriculture sector benefiting farmers and creating additional jobs in food processing logistics etc.
  • It will also help in food security for the UAE.
  • The UAE is one of the biggest overseas markets for Indian cinema apart from the UK and the USA.

India-Saudi Arabia Relations:

  • Trade and cultural links between ancient India and Arabia dating back to the third millennium BC.
  • By 1000 AD, the trade relations between southern India and Arabia flourished and became the backbone of the Arabian economy.
  • Arab traders held a monopoly over the spice trade between India and Europe until the rise of European imperialist empires.
  • India was one of the first nations to establish ties with the Third Saudi State.
  • During the 1930s, India heavily funded Nejd through financial subsidies.
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