On Tuesday Modi will hold a bilateral meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and separate delegation-level talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman

Indian Prime Minister will be leaving for Saudi Arabia tomorrow with a focus on energy, launching of RuPay card in the kingdom and a speech at the 3rd Future Investment Initiative Forum, also known as the "Davos of the desert". On Tuesday Modi will hold a bilateral meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and separate delegation-level talks with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Both sides will be signing the Strategic Partnership Council --SPC MoU--which will be headed by PM Modi and crown prince and have 2 verticals at foreign minister level and trade ministers level. Under vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has selected 8 countries for forging strategic partnership--These are India, China, UK, US, France, Germany, South Korea and Japan. The SPC was agreed in February this year and aims to monitor the Strategic partnership between both countries. 


The highlight of the visit will be PM Modi's speech at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Forum in Riyadh.PM will be attending the third session of the investment meet and will deliver the keynote address. The FII is organised by Kingdom’s Sovereign Wealth Fund – The Public Investment Fund and is organised under Saudi King's vision 2030 which see the economic transformation of the country from an oil-based economy to a more diversified economy. It was first organised in 2017.


Energy remains the main component of the visit with India importing 18% of its crude oil requirement from the West Asian country.

T S Tirumurti, secretary economic relations, ministry of external affairs in a presser ahead of the visit said, "We also hope to sign an MoU on a joint venture between Indian Oil Middle East with Al-Jeri Company of Saudi Arabia for downstream cooperation for inter-alia setting up retail outlets in Saudi Arabia. Energy security has been the main area of India’s engagement with Saudi Arabia. We are well on our way to transforming the buyer-seller relationship in this sector into a much larger strategic partnership."

Saudi Aramco, UAE's ADNOC and Indian public sector oil companies are jointly developing $44 billion "west coast refinery" in Raigad, Maharashtra which is the single largest Greenfield refinery in India. Saudi company Al Fanar is currently executing a 300 MW wind power project in Kutch, Gujarat. Indian company Reliance announced that Saudi Aramco, one of the most valuable and profitable companies in the world, will take over 20% share in RIL Oil and Chemical business at a value of whopping $75 billion. Saudi is also looking to participate in India's strategic petroleum reserves. 


To help 2.6 million Indian community, India is be launching RuPay card. Saudi Arabia is the 3rd country in West Asia after Bahrain and UAE to get the facility.

"An MoU is likely to be signed during the visit to launch the Rupay card in Saudi Arabia which will be very useful for not only the large Indian community but also Haj and Umrah pilgrims, "T S Tirumurti said.

2.6 million-strong Indian community in the kingdom send back $11 billion in remittances and with an increase in Haj quota to 2,00,000 from 1,750,25, the people to people linkages between the 2 countries are strong. Around 7,00,000 Indians visit kingdom for Umrah each year. For the welfare of the Indian workers, PM Modi will launch the integration of e-migrate system which will be aligned with Saudi counterpart to provide safeguard on employment conditions. India and Saudi Arabia will sign MoU to increase the quota for flights between the 2 countries also. During Crown Prince's February visit, India had agreed to an increase of 8000 seats per week.


Both countries are increasingly cooperating on defence with special focus on maritime security in the Indian ocean. The first India Saudi Arabia Joint Naval exercises will be held by December end. India has been training Saudi defence personnel--such as Saudi cadet officers art NDA, Pune and Saudi officers in NDC in Delhi and Defence service staff college in Wellington. New Delhi is also leveraging its expertise in cyberspace with Saudi officers being given training in cyber-security at the Gujarat Forensic Science University in Gandhi Nagar. The Saudi Royal Navy had visited India in August this year and visited the information fusion centre of the Indian ocean region set up by the Indian navy. 


Saudi Arabia, UAE and Jordan are the 3 countries in West Asia who have increased engagement with New Delhi even as Pakistan sulks. India says Saudi Arabia "has shown understanding on the recent developments" of revoking the special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir with Secretary Economic relations adding, Riyadh's stand "has had a salutary effect on Pakistan"

On terror, Triumurti said, "no doubt that both our countries are equally concerned about terrorism and you’d also recall that India itself had condemned the missile and drone strikes on inter-alia the Saudi oil installations and facilities. So, therefore, terrorism has been an important aspect of our discussions and our cooperation." Saudi Arabia had condemned the Pulwama and Uri attacks.


Hamin, is an Arabic word for intimate friend and both India and Saudi Arabia aim to become one. This will be the 2nd visit of PM Modi to Saudi Arabia since 2016 and comes months after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman visit India. During the 2016 visit, PM Modi was conferred the highest civilian award of the kingdom--King Abdul Aziz Sash. Saudi Arabia has announced that it will invest up to $100 billion in India. Trade-in last financial year grew by 24$ and stands at $34 billion. There are around 322 Indian companies in the kingdom such as L&T, Wipro, TCS and Startups like PayTM, OYO etc. Last year India was the guest of honour at the 32nd edition of the Saudi National festival of heritage and culture--Janadriyah in which the then external affairs minister of India Sushma Swaraj participated. In fact, yoga, being a "sports activity" has been allowed in the country since November 2017 and since then has been gaining popularity.