- Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to Saudi Arabia
- 3,500 pilgrims from India take part in Kachchatheevu festival
Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to Saudi Arabia
- India signs extradition treaty and a few other agreements with Saudi Arabia
- India and Saudi Arabia have vowed to jointly combat terrorism and money laundering as they signed an extradition treaty and several agreements to raise their cooperation to a strategic partnership covering security, economic, energy and defence areas. The extradition treaty enhances existing security cooperation and will help in apprehending wanted persons in each other’s country.
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Saudi King Abdullah signed the Riyadh Declaration outlining the contours of a new era of strategic partnership between the two countries. Both sides emphasised the importance of strengthening the strategic energy partnership in line with the Delhi Declaration of 2006, including meeting India’s increasing requirement of crude oil supplies and identifying areas of new and renewable energy.
- India and Saudi Arabia also signed four other agreements relating to transfer of sentenced persons, cultural cooperation, memorandum of understanding between Indian Space Research Organisation and King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology for cooperation in peaceful use of outer space and joint research and information technology.
- Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, though long overdue, ended on a high note. As a result of his discussions with the top leadership here for the past three days, both India and Saudi Arabia have agreed to upgrade their relationship to “strategic partnership.The Prime Minister said the strategic partnership would cover issues relating to security, cooperation in dealing with terrorism and arrangements for information and intelligence sharing.
- Dr. Singh and King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz covered substantial ground and managed to pin down specific areas for further collaboration. Determined to go beyond their traditional buyer-seller energy relationship, the two leaders opened up a much wider common agenda, including such exciting areas as outer space, renewable energy, and advanced computing.
- Four years after King Abdullah made a pioneering visit to India, the vision of a comprehensive political, security, and economic relationship, anchored in the Riyadh Declaration signed during Dr. Singh’s visit, now stands firmly established. The Riyadh Declaration, which came four years after the 2006 Delhi Declaration, said the two leaders noted that tolerance, religious harmony and brotherhood, irrespective of faith or ethnic background, were part of the principles and values of both countries.
- The Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, which is not only the world’s largest oil producer but also a regional heavyweight, is also likely to leave its stabilising imprint on other areas in West Asia. These include the neighbouring oil rich countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which are encountering serious security challenges.
- Significantly, the visit has added a prominent security dimension to bilateral ties. Saudi Arabia and India fully appreciate that they are common victims of terrorism. They are both targeted by the forces of global jihad, entrenched in the rugged mountain ranges on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. If Mumbai was India’s terror nightmare, Riyadh too faced a string of devastating bombings in 2003, when al Qaeda operatives blew up prominent residential compounds. Saudi Arabia continues to remain in the cross-hairs of the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which operates out of neighbouring Yemen.
- The signing of an extradition treaty during Dr. Singh’s visit therefore needs to be welcomed as a major breakthrough. From an Indian perspective, there is now hope that outfits like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), whose operatives reportedly visit Saudi Arabia for various purposes, will be captured by Saudi authorities and sent to face the law in India.
- Further, the shared focus on safeguarding the “sovereignty and independence” of Afghanistan must be welcomed.
- In a visit that otherwise went so well, New Delhi’s hardly concealed interest in seeking Riyadh’s “good offices” to moderate Pakistan’s behaviour has struck a jarring note. The suggestion appeared quite unnecessary as serious discussions on the Pakistan situation are expected to be integral to the fast-developing India-Saudi security relationship. By overtly drawing Saudi Arabia into the India-Pakistan equation, the United Progressive Alliance government has needlessly opened itself to the charge of diluting the principle of bilateralism that has, by virtue of a national consensus, governed New Delhi’s engagement with Islamabad.(-ve)
- the Shura Council – Saudi parliament
Controversy -BJP wants Manmohan, Tharoor to explain remarks on Saudi Arabia
- The latest controversy over Shashi Tharoor’s remarks,the junior minister’s reference to Saudi Arabia being a “valuable interlocutor for [India]” as assigning Riyadh a mediatory role between New Delhi and Islamabad.
- ‘Interlocutor’ means a person or entity or country involved in a conversation. And the Minister of State for External Affairs was clearly talking about the value of Saudi Arabia as a dialogue partner for India on the subject of Pakistan.
- The Bharatiya Janata Party indicated that it would ask Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Cabinet colleague Shashi Tharoor to “explain” what they meant by saying India should talk to Saudi Arabia about Pakistan-inspired terrorism.
- Was this the start of the end of bilateralism in India-Pakistan dialogue?
Riyadh ‘worried’ about Pakistan situation
- While terming Pakistan a “friendly country,” Saudi Arabia on Sunday said it was “worried” about the prevailing situation and spread of extremism there and appealed to political leaders in Pakistan to unite and meet the challenges.
(Current Affairs & GK)
By Om Prakash (goldy sir)