India, Saudi Arabia to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism

Riyadh, April 3 (IANS) India and Saudi Arabia on Sunday agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the fight against terror and called upon all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries.

“The two leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism, both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system of the UN,” said a joint statement issued after delegation-level talks here led by visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Sunday was the second and final day of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Gulf kingdom.

“The two leaders called upon the international community to strengthen multilateral regimes to effectively address the challenges posed by terrorism,” the statement said.

Both leaders totally rejected “any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion or culture”.

“They called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries; dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states; and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice,” the statement said.

Both sides agreed to work together towards the adoption of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT ) in the UN.

The Indian side was also briefed on Saudi Arabia’s initiative in bringing together an Islamic alliance of 34 countries against terrorism .

Acknowledging the strong bilateral security cooperation, the two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity-building and to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug-trafficking and other transnational crimes.

Modi and King Salman discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia, Middle East and South Asia, in the light of their common interest in the regional and global peace, security and stability.

“The two leaders agreed to enhance cooperation to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean regions, vital for the security and prosperity of both countries,” the joint statement said.

Modi and King Salman also agreed to promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention of use of cyber space for terrorism, radicalisation and for disturbing social harmony.

In the field of energy cooperation, both leaders agreed to transform the current buyer-seller relationship to one of deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in petrochemical complexes, and cooperation in joint exploration in India, Saudi Arabia and in third countries, according to the statement.

On bilateral trade, Modi and King Salman expressed satisfaction at the $39 billion trade in 2014-15.

“Taking note of the excellent trade and economic engagement, with the two countries being among the top trading partners for each other, the two leaders agreed upon the need to further strengthen these ties, particularly through diversifying non-oil trade,” the statement said.

“Both leaders expressed satisfaction at the growing presence of Indian and Saudi companies in each other’s market and agreed to further encourage trade promotion measures and participation in fairs and exhibitions,” it stated.

King Salman also lauded the strong growth shown by the Indian economy and expressed appreciation for Modi’s remarkable vision for the future of the country.

“He commended Prime Minister Modi’s worthy initiatives of ‘Startup India’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Smart City’, and ‘Clean India’, noting their strong potential to provide Indian economy a positive thrust for growth,” the statement said.

The Indian side also highlighted the key initiatives taken to improve the ease of doing business in the country and its key efforts to simplify and rationalise existing rules and relax the foreign direct investment norms in key areas, including railways, defence and insurance.

Inviting Saudi Arabia to be a partner in India’s growth story, Modi encouraged Saudi Aramco, SABIC and other Saudi companies to invest in the infrastructure sector in India.

Modi invited King Salman to pay an official visit to India at a mutually convenient time, which was gladly accepted, the statement said.

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.

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