POST TIME: 20 February, 2019 04:36:33 PM
Saudi crown prince backs India’s fight against terrorism
PM Modi held bilateral talks on Wednesday with visiting Saudi Prince Salman in New Delhi as the two countries seek to deepen their ties and frame a common strategy to deal with the challenges posed by terror.
Independent Online Desk/Hindustan Times

Saudi crown prince backs India’s fight against terrorism

Prime Minister Narender Modi with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a joint press conference at Hyderabad House in New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a joint press meet emphasised the need to fight terror in all forms. The two leaders “agreed” to put pressure on countries providing support terrorism in any form, PM Modi said after holding a delegation-level talks with Prince Salman in New Delhi.

Asserting that “barbaric attack in Pulwama last week is another cruel imprint of terror”, PM Modi said, “We agreed that to fight this challenge, there is need to put pressure on countries extending any kind of support to terrorism.”

“Destruction of the infrastructure of terrorism, ending support to terror and bringing the supporters of terrorism to justice is essential,” said PM Modi.

Saudi Prince Salman said, “Extremism and terrorism are our common concerns. We will cooperate with you (India) in all possible ways including intelligence sharing to counter terrorism. We will work with all the countries to ensure a brighter future for the coming generations.”

The two leaders are explored the ways to deepen strategic ties in the wake of Pulwama terror attack, in which at least 40 soldiers were killed last week.

Before he sat down with talks with PM Modi, Prince Salman said “good things” will come out of talks with India. Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with the Saudi Prince. “EAM @SushmaSwaraj and HRH Crown Prince of #SaudiArabia Mohammed Bin Salman. Discussed adding momentum to strategic dimension of our relationship in various fields - from trade & investment to defence & security, and regional cooperation,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar wrote on Twitter.

The Saudi Prince arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday evening on a two-day visit, which followed his Pakistan tour. Saudi deputy foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir had told a news conference in Islamabad on Monday his country will try to “de-escalate tensions” between India and Pakistan, but officials in New Delhi brushed aside such suggestions by saying this is a bilateral matter.

Ahead of the prince’s arrival, official quarters in New Delhi had noted Riyadh’s support for Islamabad’s counter-terror efforts in the Saudi Arabia-Pakistan joint statement and a reference to “the need for avoiding politicisation” of the UN regime for listing terrorists. The statement also referred to the prince’s praise for Pakistani premier Imran Khan’s efforts for dialogue with India and opening the Kartarpur corridor.

However, people familiar with developments said India’s relations with Saudi Arabia shouldn’t be compared with those of Pakistan. During the prince’s visit, the two sides emphasised to deepen their strategic partnership on the back of growing security cooperation and intelligence-sharing on terrorism.

There have been signs that Saudi Arabia is seeking not to hyphenate its ties with India and Pakistan – the prince returned to Riyadh from Islamabad and after spending a few hours back home, took a 3,000-km flight back to the Indian subcontinent.

India-Saudi Arabia ties have strengthened since Modi visited Riyadh in 2016 for the signing of an agreement on cooperation in intelligence-sharing on terror financing. India describes Saudi Arabia as a “key pillar” of its energy security and the kingdom is home to 2.7 million Indians with annual remittances of more than $11 billion.