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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to arrive today, India to raise concerns on cross-border terrorism

Modi will host a lunch in honour of the Crown Prince at Hyderabad House on Wednesday. The Crown Prince will call on President Ram Nath Kovind and he will host a banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary.

Edited by: India TV News Desk, New Delhi [ Updated: February 19, 2019 7:17 IST ]
Image Source : AP/FILE

Mohammed bin Salman

India is likely to raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his two-day visit beginning on Tuesday, official sources said. 

The two countries will also look at further enhancing defence ties, including having a joint naval exercise. 

The Crown Prince who arrived in Islamabad on Sunday at the start of his tour of South Asia has returned to Saudi Arabia on Monday, official sources said. New Delhi had reservations over his coming to India from Pakistan.

Ahead of the visit by the Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said in Islamabad on Monday that Riyadh will try to "de-escalate" tensions between India and Pakistan in the wake of the deadly terror attack in Pulwama by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad.

Official sources said Saudi Arabia was no longer accepting Pakistan's narrative on Kashmir and cross border terrorism and that India will forcefully raise the issue of Pakistan's support to terror groups during delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince on Wednesday.

They said the joint statement to be issued after talks between the two sides is likely to have strong reference about terrorism and ways to deal with it.

Secretary, Economic Affairs in the External Affairs Ministry T S Tirumurti said both sides are expected to sign five agreements in areas of investment, tourism, housing and information and broadcasting during the Saudi leader's visit.

"We are confident that this visit will open a new chapter in India-Saudi bilateral relationship," he said.

Referring to cross border terrorism, he said, "Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced the terrorist attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama on 14 February. We appreciate Kingdom's cooperation in security and counter terrorism areas over the years." 

Official sources said there has been a "change" in the way Saudi Arabia looked at relations between India and Pakistan and that the powerful Gulf nation has a better understanding of the cross-border terrorism. 

"India has been identified as one of the eight strategic partners with whom Saudi Arabia intends to deepen partnership in areas of political, security, trade and investment and culture," said Tirumurti. 

The sources said the two sides are looking at joint exercise between the two navies besides significantly ramping up overall defence cooperation.
They said Saudi Arabia has been providing India information and intelligence about various terror networks. The two countries had inked a pact on exchange of intelligence related to money laundering and terrorism during Modi's visit to Riyadh in 2016.

PM Modi to host lunch:

Modi will host a lunch in honour of the Crown Prince at Hyderabad House on Wednesday. The Crown Prince will call on President Ram Nath Kovind and he will host a banquet in honour of the visiting dignitary.

(With PTI inputs) 
 

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