- Prime Minister Modi has announced the formation of the India-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council that will be led by the leaderships of both countries.
- The announcement was made in Saudi capital Riyadh where Prime Minister Modi paid a visit during October 28-29, 2019.
India-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council
Who will chair the council?
It will be chaired by the Indian Prime Minister and the Saudi Crown Prince.
The Council would enable regular monitoring of the progress of the strategic partnership and projects taken up by the two countries.
Two Parallel Mechanisms
- The body will have two parallel mechanisms – one under the foreign ministers of the two sides to oversee political and diplomatic relations, and another under the commerce ministers to guide trade and energy ties.
- Both mechanisms will report to the Indian PM and the Saudi crown prince.
Countries having strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia
- Under its Vision – 2030, Saudi Arabia has selected eight countries for forging strategic partnership.
- These include India, China, the UK, the United States, France, Germany, South Korea and Japan.
- India became the fourth nation to sign agreements with Saudi Arabia for establishment of the strategic partnership council.
- The two countries launched a new chapter on people-to-people ties through the launch of India’s Rupay card in Saudi Arabia.
- This would help around 6 Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia as well as those Indians travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj pilgrimage.
- After United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Saudi Arabia is the third country in the Gulf region where India’s Rupay card got operationalised.
Other highlights of PM’s Saudi visit
- 12 MoUs related to security, defence, civil aviation, renewable energy sector, & capacity building were signed during the visit.
- PM Modi addressed the Future Investment Initiative Forum (popularly referred to as “Davos in the Desert”) organised by the Saudi Arabia’s Sovereign Wealth Fund – the Public Investment Fund.
- The two sides also stressed on energy security and “Strategic Petroleum Reserves” (SPRs).
- ISPRL (Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited) signed an agreement with Saudi Aramco to lease part of the 5 million-tonne Padur storage in Karnataka.
- Indian Oil Corporation has signed a preliminary deal with Saudi Arabia’s’ Al Jeri company for cooperation in the downstream sector, including setting up fuel stations in the kingdom.
- An agreement was signed on bringing coordination between e-migration systems of the two countries.
- Saudi Arabia supplies 18 per cent of India’s crude oil requirements and 30 per cent of its liquefied petroleum gas needs.
- India’s bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia was at USD 27.48 billion in 2017-18, making Saudi Arabia its fourth largest trading partner.
- PM’s visit to Riyadh was significant amid Pakistan’s rhetoric on Kashmir.
- Saudi Arabia has maintained a neutral stand on India’s decision to abrogate Article 370, expressing a tacit view that the move was internal in nature.