Oil prices, Kashmir to top PM’s agenda during Saudi visit

  • PM will meet Saudi King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his visit
  • Modi will also address the Future Investment Initiative forum on 29 October in Riyadh

Elizabeth Roche
Updated23 Oct 2019, 12:31 AM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi(PTI file)

Stability in energy supplies and pricing will be on top of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s agenda on his day-long visit to Saudi Arabia on 29 October during which he will participate in an annual investment forum and hold talks with the Saudi leadership, said two people familiar with the development.

This comes in the wake of a drone attack on the Saudi Aramco plant last month and eight months after Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a visit to India in February. National security adviser Ajit Doval visited Riyadh earlier this month to prepare the ground for the prime minister’s visit.

Modi will meet King Salman and the crown prince, who is expected to host a lunch for the prime minister. Before concluding his visit, Modi will address the Future Investment Initiative, regarded as the ‘Davos of the Desert’, an Indian official said. The event, organized by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, is seen as a high-level forum to engage with decision makers in Saudi Arabia and the region. The theme of the event is “What is Next for Global Business.”

The visit comes as India seeks to put across its narrative on the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution withdrawing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Saudi Arabia is seen as wielding considerable influence in the Muslim world. The Saudi monarch is the custodian of two of the Islam’s holiest sites. Riyadh is also seen to have considerable sway over opinion in Pakistan.

Saudi Arabia is seen to have exerted a moderating influence on Pakistan at fora such as the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva when Islamabad had tried to highlight alleged Indian human rights abuses in Kashmir, said one of the two people mentioned above.

Saudi Arabia has for some years now consciously adopted a strategy to engage with India and has been quietly advising Pakistan to refrain from seeking a special session Kashmir, said the person mentioned above.

Modi’s outreach to Saudi Arabia is in marked contrast to India’s approach to Turkey and Malaysia which had supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. India aims to cut down its palm oil imports from Malaysia, while Modi has reportedly put off plans to visit Turkey.

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First Published:23 Oct 2019, 12:31 AM IST
HomePoliticsNewsOil prices, Kashmir to top PM’s agenda during Saudi visit

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