The strategic partnership between India and Saudi Arabia experienced a peak during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Riyadh last year

With each passing day, India and Saudi Arabia are giving new dimensions to their on-going bilateral partnerships. Saudi Arabia’s inclination towards India has only grown in the past few years with the former taking ahead the latter’s bid at international forums and becoming one of the biggest trade partners.

On the other hand, India is also leaving no stone unturned to take the partnership ahead. Exemplifying India’s commitment towards the Arab nation, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval attended an elaborate ceremony at The Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi to celebrate the 90th National Day of Saudi Arabia on September 23.

The ceremony was also attended by the Union Minister of Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Member of Parliament Suresh Prabhu.

The Embassy later tweeted about the same and wrote, “The Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia celebrated the #SaudiNationalDay90 at the Embassy’s premises in New Delhi. The event was attended by @DrSJaishankar, @NSAajitkdoval, @naqvimukhtar, @sureshpprabhu, Ambassadors, government officials, and friends of the Embassy.”

Extending his greetings to his Saudi Arabian counterpart Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah bin Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, EAM S Jaishankar wrote, “Warmest greetings to FM HH Prince @FaisalbinFarhan and the Government and people of Saudi Arabia on their National Day. Our expanding cooperation across so many sectors reflects the intrinsic strength of our ties. Look forward to further advancing our Strategic Partnership.”

The Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Dr Ausaf Sayeed hailed the country’s quick and proactive measures to combat COVID-19 while congratulating the country on its big day.

In a letter sent to the government of Saudi Arabia, he wrote, “I would like to avail this opportunity to express our deep appreciation for timely and proactive measures taken by the leadership of Saudi Arabia to limit the impact of the pandemic and ensure welfare of both citizens and residents of the Kingdom.”

He wrote, “The historic and socio-cultural ties between India and Saudi Arabia have evolved into a Strategic Partnership since the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Riyadh in October 2019.”

The Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia later tweeted about the same.

The strategic partnership between India and Saudi Arabia has risen in the past few years, however, this relationship experienced a peak during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Riyadh last year where he held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Prime Minister also delivered the keynote address at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) summit.

The two countries signed 12 agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) in sectors ranging from defence industries collaboration to renewable energy, security cooperation and civil aviation. The countries also condemned terrorism and cheered the close cooperation on security issues between the two.

Not just that, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a great ally when it comes to pushing India’s agendas at international forums while blocking the bids of its enemies like Pakistan.

Notably, in August this year, Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman refused to meet Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who was on an official visit to the Arab nation. It came as a blow to Pakistan who had earlier questioned Saudi Arabia’s silence on Kashmir’s issue.

It was in March this year, that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates blocked Pakistan’s bid to embarrass India on Kashmir’s issue during the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) meeting.

As far as trade is concerned, Saudi Arabia happens to be one of the biggest trade partners of India. According to the Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) data, Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner and is a major source of energy as India imports around 18 percent of its crude oil requirement from the Kingdom.

In fact, Saudi Arabia this year, surpassed Iraq in being the biggest oil supplier to India.

India’s relations with other Middle Eastern nations are also showing positive growth. India News Network earlier did a story in which it marked India’s growing partnership with the UAE.

The relationship between India and the UAE started rising after PM Modi became the first Indian leader to visit UAE in over 40 years of relationship in 2015. The Modi administration started to see the UAE beyond its oil wells.The annual trade which was around $180 million in the 1970s climbed up to $60 billion in 2018-19 making it India’s third largest trading partner.

Indian investments in the UAE were estimated at around $85 billion. There are 4365 Indian companies, 238 commercial agencies and 4862 trademarks registered in the UAE, the MEA data suggested.

Similarly, with Israel, India is signing new deals to increase its footprint in the country. Recently, India and Israel signed an MoU to enable start-ups and companies of both nations to work together in the technology sector and give new and innovative technologies to the world for the greater good.

In fact, with exception to Turkey, India enjoys a great partnership with almost all the nations in the Gulf and the West Asian region.