India, Saudi Arabia review strategic partnership

New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud led delegation-level talks here on Sunday, during which the entire gamut of the strategic partnership between India and Saudi Arabia was reviewed.

“Examining the full spread of a Strategic Partnsership. PM and King lead delegation level talks,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted.

Fighting terrorism, energy cooperation and trade and investment were high on the agenda in Sunday’s talks.

Apart from being India’s largest crude oil supplier, accounting for one-fifth of its imports, Saudi Arabia is also India’s fourth largest trading partner with bilateral trade reaching $40 billion.

There are nearly three million Indians in Saudi Arabia, a large number of whom are blue-collar workers involved in the kingdom’s various infrastructure projects.

The delegation-level talks were preceded by a restricted meeting between Modi and King Salman.

The Saudi monarch also hosted a lunch in honour of the visiting prime minister.

Saudi Arabia is the third and last leg of Modi’s five-day, three-nation foreign tour which also took him to Brussels and Washington, D.C.

In Brussels, he attended the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit and held a bilateral meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and then in Washington he participated in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.

This is the first prime ministerial visit from India to the oil-rich Gulf kingdom since the visit of Manmohan Singh in 2010.

Modi leave will leave for New Delhi on Sunday evening.

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