Saudi crown prince’s India visit puts convergence of views and interests in the spotlight|Arab News Japan

“It’s a very significant visit, for a host of reasons,” Kabir Taneja, strategic affairs program fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, told Arab News. “The fact that India is hosting the crown prince immediately after the G20 showcases the importance of the visit.

“There are multiple sorts of facets to the bilateral relations between India and Saudi Arabia. But, first and foremost, I think right now it’s economics.”

He said that both countries were looking to find external investors and “like-minded countries to work with, find like-minded countries to partner with on economic prosperity for their respective populations,” but also to work together in the global geopolitical landscape, where economics has become the crux of many things.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman attending the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. (SPA)

“Geoeconomics is as important, if not more, as geopolitics and geopolitics itself is now sort of anchored in economics — increasingly, at least,” said Taneja.

“So this is a very opportune time for both countries to sit down and talk economics. We are also hearing that there’s going to be a special sort of roundtable on investments.”

From the Indian side, another important issue likely to be raised during the crown prince’s visit is energy. According to Taneja, India’s increasing reliance on oil imports is “something that is critical for New Delhi to factor into all kinds of geopolitics and geo-economics it wants to work around.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2R), US President Joe Biden (R) and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman hold hands before the start of a session at the G20 summit in New Delhi on September 9, 2023. (POOL / AFP)

While Saudi-India ties have developed quickly since the crown prince’s first visit, engagements between the two countries throughout the 2023 Indian presidency of the G20 have seen them further solidified.

“The visit highlights the growing shared interests between India and Saudi Arabia on various global issues,” Mohammed Soliman, strategic technologies director at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC, told Arab News.

“Riyadh and Delhi actively cooperate on regional stability and integration, energy security, and economic collaboration. Saudi Arabia plays a significant role in the G20, having assumed the G20 presidency in 2020.

“The visit also provides an opportunity for highlighting Saudi Arabia’s viewpoints on global issues, including energy, climate change, and economic cooperation, positioning Saudi Arabia as a major player in the G20’s efforts to embrace diverse perspectives beyond the G7.”


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