Unique Interview: Indian Exterior Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Says Stronger Saudi-India Ties ‘Good For Us, Good For The World’
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and India are approaching their relationship conserving in thoughts the bigger world context, Dr S Jaishankar informed Arab Information in an unique interview throughout his first official go to to the Kingdom as India’s Exterior Affairs Minister.
“In a world that has skilled the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts corresponding to the continuing one in Ukraine and even local weather occasions, it’s important that our relationship turns into an element of rising stability. That is good for us, good for the area and good for the world.”
He added: “The purpose of each nations is to establish complementarities that enable us to broaden our cooperation as rapidly as doable. It could require collaborative actions, mutual funding, coordinated insurance policies and higher mobility.”
Relations between Saudi Arabia and India have traditionally been robust, with Indians constituting the most important international employee group within the Kingdom and one in all their dwelling nation’s largest sources of remittances. About 200,000 pilgrims from India, the place Islam is the second largest faith, traveled to Saudi Arabia to carry out the Hajj earlier than the pandemic in 2019.
In flip, Saudi Arabia has constantly been among the many high three vitality suppliers to India, the world’s third largest oil importing and consuming nation. The 2 are additionally members of the G20 intergovernmental discussion board in addition to the Non-Aligned Motion.
In recent times, relations between Saudi Arabia and India have expanded into different areas, notably safety, commerce, funding, well being, meals safety, tradition and protection. The 2 governments have remained in shut contact through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re main gamers within the rising multipolar world order and there are a number of areas the place each our nations are working collectively,” Jaishankar stated. “India is a big economic system and our focus stays on the financial development and growth of over 1.3 billion folks in India. This additionally supplies an amazing alternative for Saudi Arabia to spend money on India and work along with us for the mutual advantage of each nations.”
Elaborating on this significant facet of the Saudi-India relationship, Jaishankar stated, “India and Saudi Arabia are main economies and play an essential position in shaping the worldwide economic system. The 2 nations are essential financial companions, with commerce valued at roughly USD 42.86 billion through the fiscal yr (April 2021 – March 2022).
He continued: “This partnership performs a stabilizing position within the area. The 2 nations share a number of synergies within the financial subject. For instance, the 2 are important vitality companions and there’s large scope for elevated funding in two instructions.”
He added: “Power has been a pillar of our cooperation for a number of many years. Not solely will we need to construct on this, but in addition lengthen it into renewables, together with “inexperienced” hydrogen.
A profession diplomat who served as India’s international secretary earlier than being inducted into the cupboard in 2019, Jaishankar credit “the imaginative and prescient and steerage supplied by (Indian) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman” for strengthening the federal government saudi Relationship with India.
“Their respective visits in 2019 to Saudi Arabia and India gave an amazing increase to the bilateral relationship and it has continued regardless of the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic,” he stated.
“These visits led to the formation of the Saudi Arabia-India Strategic Partnership Council, which displays the mutual need of each nations to enhance the extent of this relationship. Right now, our bilateral partnership covers nearly all areas of cooperation, together with political, safety, protection, financial, vitality, cultural and people-to-people ties.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman acquired Jaishankar in Jeddah on Monday. In the course of the assembly, he handed the Crown Prince a letter from the Indian Prime Minister.
Yesterday, Jaishankar co-chaired together with his Saudi counterpart, International Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the inaugural ministerial assembly in Riyadh of the Committee on Political, Safety, Social and Cultural Cooperation established below the Strategic Partnership Council.
Explaining the functioning of the bilateral physique, he stated: “Fashioned in October 2019, the Strategic Partnership Council has two sub-committees. The primary is the PSSC Committee and the second is the Economic system and Funding Committee.
“The present ministerial assembly I got here to (in Saudi Arabia) is of the PSSC Committee, which focuses on a number of essential areas of bilateral cooperation and has 4 joint working teams.
“The joint working teams concentrate on bilateral cooperation in political and consular, authorized and safety, social and cultural and protection fields. The agenda of this ministerial assembly would cowl all these areas.”
Jaishankar expressed satisfaction over the rise in Saudi international direct funding in India from lower than $50 million in 2014 to round $3.15 billion right now. “A number of massive Indian corporations are additionally engaged in enterprise in Saudi Arabia. We have now intensified our cooperation in areas corresponding to well being safety, meals safety, schooling and expertise,” he stated.
“Our cooperation through the pandemic taught us essential classes about well being safety and provide chains. We will depend on this expertise to be higher ready to face such challenges sooner or later. Each nations may also collaborate on the Kingdom’s Imaginative and prescient 2030, the place the Kingdom can profit from India’s expert workforce, entrepreneurs and expertise.”
In keeping with Jaishankar, given the “synergies above, one of many verticals of the Strategic Partnership Council focuses on economic system and funding. The 4 joint working teams of this subcommittee mentioned cooperation within the fields of agriculture and meals safety, vitality, expertise and knowledge expertise, and business and infrastructure.”
Throughout their conferences, Prince Faisal and Jaishankar undertook a complete evaluation of the bilateral relationship and mentioned progress below the 4 joint working teams of the PSSC Committee. The 2 sides are understood to have additionally mentioned regional and worldwide issues of mutual curiosity, together with their cooperation on the UN, the G20 and the Gulf Cooperation Council.
“India considers the Gulf area as its prolonged neighborhood and that naturally means widespread pursuits with Saudi Arabia within the areas of safety and defence. We have now steadily strengthened our cooperation in these areas within the spirit of our strategic partnership,” Jaishankar stated.
“In defence, now we have had alternate of visits on the degree of military commanders within the final two years and we additionally had the primary joint naval train final yr. Our Joint Committee on Protection Cooperation met a number of months in the past and recognized different areas of cooperation. The Indian protection business affords thrilling alternatives for co-production and funding and that is an space the place we hope to make extra progress with Saudi Arabia.”
Emphasizing the significance of safety cooperation between the 2 governments, he stated, “India has been a sufferer of cross-border terrorism for many years. Saudi Arabia has had its personal challenges and experiences.
“Since terrorism is aware of no borders or faith and is a risk to humanity, it is just pure that India and Saudi Arabia come collectively to collectively handle the threats confronted by their respective nations by sharing data, growing new applied sciences, conserving tempo with modus operandi terrorist operandi and dealing collectively in worldwide organizations such because the UN and FATF”.
In keeping with Jaishankar, there’s a good working relationship “on the highest ranges of the safety structure of each nations” in countering terrorist threats. “Moreover, below the Strategic Partnership Council, the 2 nations have established a joint working group on authorized and safety cooperation to collaborate on this space,” he stated.
“In maritime safety, each India and Saudi Arabia have a vested curiosity given our lengthy coastlines and business pursuits. We have now a typical purpose of conserving the maritime channels of communication open and guaranteeing that worldwide regulation is revered.”
Jaishankar famous with satisfaction the elevated naval cooperation between Saudi Arabia and India, noting that “our ships made operational returns to Saudi Arabia whereas Saudi Arabia participated within the multinational train MILAN 2022 in Vishakhapatnam in February 2022”.
He added: “Along with these ship visits, maritime data sharing and different coaching actions proceed. Total, I see good momentum in our financial, vitality, safety and protection relations and am assured of excellent progress within the coming years.”
Trying forward, Jaishankar expressed hope that his conferences and the upcoming go to of fellow cupboard minister Piyush Goyal in control of commerce and business would pave the way in which for a gathering of the Saudi and Indian leaders within the close to future. “We consider that the assembly of the Strategic Partnership Council mechanism might be extra productive on account of these preparations,” he stated.
Throughout his keep in Riyadh, Jaishankar met different Saudi dignitaries in addition to Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Secretary Normal of the GCC. Together with the Indian embassy officers, he additionally visited the cultural websites of Diriyah, Salwa Palace and Diriyah gallery.