Saudi Arabia has offered to share intelligence with India in fighting terrorism and called for dismantling of terrorist infrastructure, even as New Delhi and Riyadh, in oblique references, called for sanctions against Jaish chief Masood Azhar in the UN and for a conducive atmosphere for holding Indo-Pak talks.
Affirming that the menace of extremism and terrorism threatens all nations and societies, Delhi and Riyadh rejected any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion or culture. In oblique references to Pakistan both sides called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries; dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists perpetrating terrorism from all territories against other states; and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice, according to the joint statement issued late on Wednesday night.
India and Saudi Arabia agreed to constitute a ‘Comprehensive Security Dialogue’ at the level of National Security Advisors and set up a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.
Both sides called up on all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy without naming Pakistan. They also called upon all states to deny access to weapons including missiles and drones to commit terrorist acts against other countries. The two leaders condemned in the strongest terms, the recent terrorist attack on Indian security forces on 14 February, 2019 in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir.
The two sides stressed the importance of regional stability and good neighbouring relations. The two countries appreciated consistent efforts made by the Indian PM since May 2014 including Prime Minister’s personal initiatives to have friendly relations with Pakistan. In this context, both sides agreed on the need for creation of conditions necessary for resumption of the comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan.
On an official visit to India, Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman said he saw investment opportunities worth $100 billion in various sectors in India. Addressing the media along with PM Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday, Salman said Saudi Arabia has already invested $44 billion in India since the PM’s visit in 2016. Without naming Iran he also reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to meet India’s growing needs for crude oil and petroleum products and substitute for any shortages that may arise as a result of any disruptions from other sources.
“We understand that there are opportunities for more than $100 billion investment in India…We want to strengthen investment and economic ties… We want to increase cooperation with India as it will give a new direction to our relationship,” the crown prince said. Economic relations secretary in MEA, TS Tirumurti, told reporters after the meeting that there is a commitment by Saudi Arabia to invest $100 billion in sectors like energy, petrochemicals and manufacturing.
When asked if Saudi Arabia offered to mediate between India and Pakistan, the ministry official said that at this point, no mediation has been offered. Riyadh had made it clear to Islamabad that Indo-Pak issues must be addressed bilaterally.
With Modi by his side, Salman told reporters he “shared India’s concern on terrorism.” He did not make any public reference to Pakistan, but said his visit to India will improve centuries-old ties between the countries, which he said are “in our DNA.”
Sources said Riyadh’s investments in Pakistan cannot be compared with India as Saudi Arabia was not investing to bail the country out, but because it was a robust economy growing at nearly 7%. Modi in his remarks referred to the attack on Indian soldiers and said effective steps would be taken to punish the perpetrators and their supporters. “Saudi Arabia and India share views on increasing cooperation in counterterrorism and tackling cybercrimes,’’ he said. “India and Saudi Arabia have agreed to cooperate further to fight against terrorism and put pressure on those countries which are supporting terror to deal with its growing threat.”