Greeted with a hug: Saudi crown prince welcomed to India by PM Modi

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Modi said India was delighted to welcome the crown Prince to India. (SPA)
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival. (Indian Foreign Ministry)
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was greeted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his arrival. (Indian Foreign Ministry)
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Modi said India was delighted to welcome the crown Prince to India. (SPA)
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Modi said India was delighted to welcome the crown Prince to India. (SPA)
Updated 20 February 2019

Greeted with a hug: Saudi crown prince welcomed to India by PM Modi

  • The crown prince will receive a ceremonial welcome at the presidential palace on Wednesday
  • Saudi ambassador to India says visit is historic opportunity to consolidate a 'historical friendship'

NEW DELHI: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in New Delhi for his first trip to India on Tuesday night. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a break from normal protocol, welcomed the Saudi prince at the airport with a warm hug, sending a clear message about the importance India is placing on this royal visit.

“India is delighted to welcome HRH Mohammed Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia,” Modi tweeted later.

The two-day royal visit takes place against the backdrop of an escalation in tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad after the Pulwama terror attack on Feb. 14, in which 44 security personnel lost their lives. Speaking in Islamabad on Tuesday, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said that the Kingdom would try to “de-escalate the tension” between the neighboring countries and find a “path forward to resolve those differences peacefully.”

On Wednesday, the crown prince will receive a ceremonial welcome at the presidential palace and meet the Indian foreign minister, before sitting down with Modi for talks that are expected to be wide-ranging. The prime minister will also host a lunch for the visiting dignitaries, while in the evening President Ram Nath Kovind will host a banquet in honor of the Saudi crown prince, who is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes ministers, senior officials and leading Saudi businessmen.

The royal visit follows the Indian PM’s trip to Saudi Arabia in April 2016, during which the countries elevated the status of their relationship to a strategic partnership. Some reports have suggested that they might now be planning to set up a “Strategic Partnership Council” at a ministerial level, in addition to holding joint naval exercises and upgrading defense cooperation.

As well as the political engagement during the crown prince’s visit, 400 Indian and Saudi business leaders will meet in New Delhi, at the invitation of Saudi General Investment Authority, to explore business opportunities and cooperation.

India is the fourth-largest trading partner of Saudi Arabia, with bilateral trade worth $27.5 billion last year, and Riyadh supplies 20 percent of India’s crude-oil requirement. Last year, Saudi Aramco, in partnership with UAE company ADNOC, entered into a $44 billion joint venture for a stake in the Ratnagiri Refinery and Petro-Chemical project in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

India considers Saudi Arabia a friend and part of its “extended neighborhood,” said Ahmad Javed, India’s ambassador in Riyadh.

“More than 7 million Indians work in the Gulf region,” he added. “Saudi Arabia and the other GCC states have been the time-tested, reliable source of our energy security. The security, stability and prosperity of the region are of great importance to us.

“We attach great priority to our friendly relations with Saudi Arabia. Our traditionally close ties are anchored in shared interests based on centuries-old economic and sociocultural ties, as well as vibrant people-to-people contacts.”


Saudi Arabia wins praise for showcasing ancient cultural heritage

Updated 10 December 2019

Saudi Arabia wins praise for showcasing ancient cultural heritage

  • It has introduced Saudi and Arab heritage to more than 5 million people across the world

RIYADH: Alessandra Capodiferro, director of the National Roman Museum, on Monday, expressed pride that her museum was hosting the exhibition “Roads of Arabia: Masterpieces of Antiquities in Saudi Arabia Across the Ages.”

The exhibition, which was inaugurated by Saudi Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah on Nov. 26, has already been hosted by a number of prominent international museums.

Capodiferro praised the international reputation achieved by the exhibition, which features many important artifacts, including hunting gear, weapons, jewelry, utensils made from precious metals, glass, alabaster, ceramics, sculptures and wall paintings — all of which are an expression of local production, trade exchange and cultural contact.

She said that the most important achievements of the research conducted in the Kingdom over the decades by Saudi specialists and archeological missions, including those headed by Italian teams, revealed the rich history of the Arabian Peninsula mentioned in ancient literature. Excavations conducted on these missions have led to the discovery of a significant number of artifacts dating back to several epochs — prehistoric, ancient, Roman Imperial and late antiquity.

The exhibition highlights the successive civilizations of the Arabian Peninsula, and provides examples of cultural interaction between Arab and Roman civilizations. It will continue for three months in Rome, its 17th station. Hosted in the most prominent international museums in European, American and Asian cities, it has introduced Saudi and Arab heritage to more than 5 million international visitors.