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India, Saudi plan state visit by Prince Md Bin Salman post G20 summit

India is in talks with Saudi Arabia for organising a state visit of Crown Prince Md Bin Salman immediately after the G20 summit next month.

Salman, who shares a strong chemistry with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last visited India in 2019. Senior officials from both sides are currently in dialogue to put the visit in place and possible outcomes.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s deputy minister for political and economic affairs Saud Al-Sati met ministry of external affairs secretary in-charge of the Arab world Ausaf Sayed to discuss the contours of the visit. Al-Sati had earlier served as the Saudi ambassador to India. The crown prince will attend G20 Summit on September 9-10.

Investments and various elements of the strategic partnership will top the agenda of Salman’s trip. Saudi Arabia was admitted as the new member of BRICS last week at the Johannesburg summit.

In June, Salman spoke with Modi over phone to review various facets of the partnership. The visit, if it materialises, will take place in the backdrop of major political, social and economic reforms initiated by the crown prince and the Saudi-Iran rapprochement. Saudi Arabia, which recently hosted a meeting on the Ukraine peace deal, maintains neutrality over the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

India-Saudi ties, which have gained big momentum in recent years, have seen an increase in defence cooperation and Saudi investments in India.It may be recalled that the visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the kingdom in 2016 and 2019 and the state visit of Salman to India in February 2019 have marked a new era in the bilateral relations, which culminated in the setting up of the Strategic Partnership Council , co-chaired by the two leaders.

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