Terror to figure prominently in India-Saudi Jt. Statement, it ‘was flagged’ off in 2016

Last Modified Tuesday, 19 February 2019 (10:27 IST)
New Delhi: In endorsement to India’s stance on cross border terrorism and as a testimony of India-friendship the issue of terrorism will be highlighted yet again at the bilateral talks between two sides when interacts with the Indian delegation led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
“If you see 2016 Joint Statement issued in April 2016 during Mr Modi’s visit, it is very much there.
 
There was a clear phrase of the terrorists ‘operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states’ ......so there is no reason to feel otherwise,” a source said.
 
The Crown Prince who arrived in Islamabad on Sunday at the start of his Asia tour - that includes first State Visit to has returned to Saudi Arabia on Monday.
 
Apparently, Indian diplomats had ‘reservations’ over his coming to India from Islamabad.
 
Now, according to sources, Crown Prince will arrive here on late evening Tuesday and will have important rounds of talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday.
 
In 2016, the Joint Statement had - “....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 operating and perpetrating terrorism from their territories against other states; and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice”.
 
Indian side believe unlike past, there is a “shift” in Saudi perception about the issue of terrorism.
 
In fact, New Delhi has reasons to believe that Saudi Arabia is no more taking the ‘Pakistan’s narrative’ on the issue Kashmir and cross border terrorism in the spirit as they used to do in the past.
 
During the talks, India will raise the issue of Pakistan’s support to terror groups, sources said.
 
“Saudi Arabia is a strategic partner in our extended neighbourhood. The Riyadh Declaration of 2010 had forged a Strategic Partnership between India and Saudi Arabia. Relations between India and Saudi Arabia are rooted in strong historical and civilisational links,” Secretary, Economic Relations in the Ministry of External Affairs T S Tirumurti said.
 
“Our relations received a huge boost during the visit of Prime Minister Modi in April 2016. Since then, there has been an intensification of our engagement”.
 
He also said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has strongly condemned and denounced the terrorist attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama on February 14.
 
“We appreciate Kingdom’s cooperation in security and counter terrorism areas over the years. During the visit of to Saudi Arabia in 2016, an MoU on cooperation in exchange of intelligence related to money laundering and terrorism financing was signed. The Kingdom has shown greater understanding of our terrorism-related concerns and also agreed to work with India in countering this global menace,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, in Islamabad, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has said - “Our objective is to try to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, neighbouring countries, and to see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully”.

India on Monday asserted that notwithstanding the fact that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has made a visit to Islamabad just on the eve of his trip to India, the context of Pakistan is “irrelevant” to India Saudi Arabia relations, informed sources said here.
 
“His visit to Pakistan in the aftermath of the February 14 Pulwama attack is not a setback to India. Media have reported about Saudi investments coming in Pakistan....But when they invest in India, they will not be doing so to bail out the economy,” a senior official said. (UNI)