He was due to stop in national capital on way to Bali G-20 today

Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) cancelled a planned visit to Delhi on Sunday due to “scheduling issues” on both sides, according to sources. While the visit was not officially announced, it has been under planning for several weeks, after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar had delivered a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September, inviting the Saudi Prince.

Officials confirming the cancellation said both Mr. Salman and Mr. Modi are expected to meet in Bali for the G-20 summit beginning Monday, and the Saudi Prince will reschedule his visit to Delhi in the near future.

According to officials involved in the planning, Mr. Salman was due to make a half-day visit to Delhi to discuss a number of issues, including energy cooperation, oil trade and investment in renewable energy projects in India, as well as other areas of infrastructure investment by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This would also have been the first such visit since Riyadh protested remarks on Prophet Muhammed made by a BJP spokesperson in May this year, and MbS’s travel to India was expected to indicate the strength in bilateral ties despite the controversy.

The visit to Delhi was one of a number of visits planned by the Saudi Prince in November. Earlier this month, the Algerian government announced that he had cancelled his visit to attend the Arab League summit in Algiers due to “the recommendations of doctors who advised him not to travel”. During this tour, Mr. Salman was due to travel to India, Indonesia for the G-20, South Korea for a bilateral visit, Thailand for the APEC summit, and South Korea. According to Pakistani officials, he was also expected to travel to Pakistan on his way back to Riyadh on November 21, which has now been put off to be “rescheduled” as well.

Tight Schedule

According to sources, Mr. Modi’s schedule has also been busy due to campaigning in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh. As a result, he was unable to visit Cambodia on Saturday for the ASEAN-India commemorative summit marking 30 years of ties as well as the announcement of an upgradation of relations to a Strategic Comprehensive Partnership, and Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankar officiated instead.

Mr. Modi had also indicated that he wouldn’t be able to travel to Bali for a handover of the “B-20” Business forum for G-20 on Sunday due to the visit of Mr. Salman, and would only land in Bali on Monday morning in time for the first plenary session. The officials said that given the busy schedules of both leaders, as well as the short period available for them to meet, they decided to put off the visit to when more “substantive” outcomes could be achieved.