Saudi King and Indian Prime Minister hold talks, issue Riyadh Declaration

March 2, 2010

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held official talks at the King’s Palace in Riyadh on Sunday evening. The discussion centered on bilateral relations, while also touching on regional and international developments. Afterwards, the two leaders issued the Riyadh Declaration, entitled “A New Era of Strategic Partnership,” in which they heralded “the steady expansion of Saudi-India relations.” They noted their intention to increase the current level of bilateral cooperation to a “strategic partnership covering security, economic, defense and political areas.”

The two leaders reiterated their mutual desire to develop knowledge-based economies based on advances in technology and welcomed newly signed cooperation agreements on research and education, information technology and services, science and technology, and peaceful uses of outer space. King Abdullah and Prime Minister Singh emphasized the importance of strengthening the Saudi-Indian strategic energy partnership and called for an increase in bilateral trade and investment.

On the topic of terrorism, they declared that tolerance, religious harmony and brotherhood, irrespective of faith or ethnic background, are part of the basic values of both countries. They renewed their condemnation of terrorism, extremism and violence, affirming that those phenomena pose a global threat and are not linked to any race, color or belief. The two sides advocated interfaith dialogue and agreed to enhance cooperation in the exchange of information relating to terrorist activities, money-laundering, and narcotics and arms and human trafficking.

Touching on international events, the King and the Prime Minister stressed the importance of the Arab-Israeli peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state. Additionally, they called for a nuclear-free Middle East; reiterated their support for international efforts to resolve issues relating to Iran’s nuclear program peacefully through dialogue; called for the preservation of Afghanistan’s sovereignty and independence; and expressed hope that upcoming elections will enable the people of Iraq to achieve security and stability while consolidating their national unity and territorial integrity.

The bilateral talks were attended by Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz; Second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz; Riyadh Governor Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz; Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal; Chief of General Intelligence Prince Miqren bin Abdulaziz; Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Ahmed Zainal; and Saudi Ambassador to India Faisal Trad.

The Indian delegation included Minister of Health and Family Planning Ghulam Nabi Azad; Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora; Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma; Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shashi Tharoor; and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister T. K.A. Nair.