Despite the economic slowdown, India will grow at the rate of 9 to 10 percent for the next 25 years. Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner with bilateral trade being valued at over $25 billion. There are over 550 Indian enterprises in the Kingdom with a total value of more than $2.5 billion. Kingdom is the largest source of crude oil for India, meeting 20 percent of India’s oil imports.
The ‘Riyadh Declaration – A New Era of Strategic Partnership’ was signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz at a ceremony at the Al Rawad Palace in Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia expressed concerns over extremism in Pakistan as New Delhi and Riyadh firmed up a strategic partnership. According to the new declaration, keeping in view the development of relations between the two countries, and the potential for their further growth, the two leaders decided to raise their cooperation to a strategic partnership covering security, economic, defence and political areas.
India and Saudi Arabia signed an extradition treaty and several pacts to raise their cooperation to a strategic partnership covering areas of security, economic, energy and defence.
New Delhi expects good relations and an uninterrupted flow of oil to fuel its growth. But enhancing its influence in the Gulf, particularly in Saudi Arabia, can provide India with not just energy security but with a diplomatic gateway to the broader Middle East as well.
Saudi Arabia expects India to back Saudi on Iran and the Arab Peace Initiative for just settlement to the vexed Palestinian issue and hoped that “dialogue will triumph over confrontation” in resolving conflicts.
India with close ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia have backed ongoing international efforts to resolve the controversy over Iran’s nuclear programme peacefully through dialogue while encouraged Tehran to respond to the efforts to remove “doubts” over its atomic ambitions.
The peace process in the Middle East was also high on the agenda of the meeting between Dr. Singh and Saudi King Abdullah here on Sunday night.
All Arabs know at the end of the day, India is Israel’s best buddy. But lets assume Sudia decides to play a role in normalizing Indo-Pak tension and suggests something for Kashmir solution, so would India be ready to accept it ?