Saudi Crown Prince, Iranian foreign minister to visit India

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by feathers, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. feathers

    feathers Tihar Jail Banned

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    Saudi Crown Prince, Iranian foreign minister to visit India

    New Delhi: There will be a flurry of visits to India by a number of foreign dignitaries in the next few days which include Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin.

    Al Saud, who is also Saudi Arabia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, will arrive here on February 26 on a three-day visit.

    It will be the highest level political visit to India from Saudi Arabia after the landmark visit of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in January 2006. The visit is aimed at further strengthening ties between the two countries.

    Saudi Arabia is India's fourth largest partner with bilateral trade recording USD 43 billion in 2012-13. Saudi Arabia is also India's largest crude oil supplier accounting for about one-fifth of our total imports in 2012-13, the spokesman in Ministry of External Affairs said.

    Indians form the largest expatriate community in Saudi Arabia and their contribution in the progress and development of their host country is well recognised. There are over 2.88 million Indian nationals presently working in Saudi Arabia.

    The Crown Prince will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including cabinet ministers, senior officials and captains of industry.

    During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Riyadh in 2010, both countries had decided to elevate the bilateral engagement to 'Strategic Partnership' covering security, economic, defence and political areas.

    The Crown Prince will call on President Pranab Mukherjee and meet the Prime Minister and Vice President M Hamid Ansari.

    In recent years, there has been significant progress in bilateral cooperation in key areas of mutual interest, including energy security, trade and infrastructure development projects.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif will arrive here on February 27 on a two-day visit. He is expected to hold talks with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest.

    Asked about reference made to Jammu and Kashmir by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference in its recent meeting which was attended by Saudi Arabia, the MEA spokesman said India has repeatedly said the group has no locus standi as far as the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned.

    "As far as we are concerned, we do not think that an organisation which has no direct relevance to what is happening in Jammu and Kashmir needs to take a view on that," he said.

    He said Russian Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin will arrive here On February 26. This will be the first high-level visit from Russia following the summit meeting between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Manmohan Singh in October last year.

    His talks with Indian leaders are likely to focus on energy, trade and business and cooperation in space technology.

    Dmitry Mezentsev, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, will also visit India from February 23 to 25. He is visiting India as part of his outreach programme.

    Mezentsev is likely to hold talks with the External Affairs Minister and Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh.

    India has been an observer at the SCO since 2005 and has generally participated at the ministerial-level at summits. SCO focusses on security and economic cooperation in the Eurasian space.

    The precursor of the SCO was the "Shanghai Five" constituted by China in 1996 to address border security issues with four of its neighbours.

    In its present form, SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the Presidents of Russia, China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

    India, Iran and Pakistan were admitted as observers at the 2005 Astana Summit. The Tashkent SCO Summit in June 2010 lifted the moratorium on new membership, paving the way for expansion of the grouping.

    India has been been actively involved in SCO activities and working closely with SCO member states. It has indicated willingness to play a more constructive and larger role in the SCO as an when SCO decides to expand.

    PTI

    First Published: Friday, February 21, 2014, 23:20
     
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  3. ladder

    ladder Senior Member Senior Member

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    India, Pak ally S Arabia to forge strong defence ties - Hindustan Times
     
  4. Abhijeet Dey

    Abhijeet Dey Regular Member

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    I hope Saudi Arabia is interested in military hardware developed in India. They should purchase naval ships from Indian shipyards or invest in other defence projects.
     
  5. Haman10

    Haman10 Regular Member

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    iran and india to open a new chapter in ties

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will travel to India later this week as Tehran seeks to open a "new chapter" in relations with New Delhi, media reported today.

    Leading a high-ranking delegation, Zarif will hold talks with top Indian officials to bolster ties during the two-day visit that begins Thursday, the official IRNA news agency said.

    The visit will provide an opportunity to "open a new chapter" in relations with India, it said, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.

    Talks will cover regional and international issues, "including developments in Afghanistan, combating violence and extremism, as well as the expansions of trade and economic ties" with India.

    Another issue that could be discussed is Iran's crude oil exports to energy-hungry India, the world's fourth-largest oil importer, IRNA added.

    India has significantly reduced its imports since the West imposed harsh economic sanctions on Tehran over its controversial nuclear drive in 2012. New Delhi currently imports nearly 200,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran.

    The sanctions, which include restrictions on financial transactions, have hampered the repatriation of petrodollars from India, which according to Iranian media owes Tehran nearly USD 5.3 billion for oil shipments.

    Zarif's visit comes as Iran and world powers agreed last week on a timetable and framework for negotiations on a comprehensive accord that would allay Western concerns about Iran's nuclear programme in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions.

    Western nations and Israel have long suspected Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian programme, charges denied by Tehran.

    Iran's Zarif plans India visit to revive ties: report | Business Standard
     
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  6. Srinivas_K

    Srinivas_K Senior Member Senior Member

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    India and Iran are friends for centuries and also share common concerns regarding the scenario in Central Asia.

     
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  7. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Crown Prince comes to India after his visit to Pak where he offered $2 billion for Pak weapons to Syrian rebels. This goes against Iranian interests. But then India has been getting good cooperation from Saudis on terror front.

    Zarif visit is important as we try to figure out what to do in Afghanistan. Chhabar is in a limbo although India did recently commit to work on it as China too eyes the port.

    Saudis should not win in Syria as in the long run it will harm our security interests as the ones fighting there are of the ideology as our neighbors.
     
  8. feathers

    feathers Tihar Jail Banned

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    India’s Middle East outreach is a blend of strategies - The Times of India

    NEW DELHI: Asharq Al Awsat — Arabic for "Middle East" — as a concept is slowly rolling off the Indian tongue, as India sheds its antiquated descriptions of "West Asia" and "Gulf", and Indian policy to this region undergoes a significant shift. In fact, foreign office mandarins are now fond of talking about India's new "Look Middle East" policy.

    The forthcoming overlapping visits by crown prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Javad Zarif, foreign minister of Iran this week will highlight the delicate balancing act that India is playing in this region. Prince Salman, who doubles up as the Kingdom's defence minister will ostensibly be returning the visit of defence minister AK Antony which sparked off improved defence and security relations with a country India has never been comfortable with.

    Prince Salman comes in after visiting Pakistan, a visit during which Pakistan decided to back the Saudi position on Syria, i.e. to work for the overthrow of Bashar al Assad. Nawaz Sharif has made no secret of his desire to build closer relations with Saudi Arabia. Going by past experience, it means Pakistani fighters, or trainers could be used to beef up the Assad opposition while Pakistan could even export weapons etc to Syria. In return, Pakistan is looking at greater Saudi political and economic investment in Pakistan. The Saudi-Pakistani defence relationship also has a more important nuclear dimension — any nuclear deal with Iran will necessarily leave it with some nuclear capability. That very prospect would be a catalyst for what is seen as a burgeoning Saudi-Pakistan nuclear relationship. Many believe this could involve Saudi Arabia importing technology and equipment wholesale from Pakistan. Pakistan is playing what Indian strategists consider to be dangerous game, but from an Indian point of view, it could give Pakistan's army, hurting under US neglect, a fresh lease of life. That is bad news for India and Afghanistan in a year when US troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan.

    India will have this conversation with the Saudi prince, at least to caution it about Indian security concerns. India and Saudi Arabia have just completed negotiations on their own defence cooperation agreement, which may be signed this week.

    Indian policy leadership in PMO and MEA say they are clear-eyed about the Saudi-Pak relationship. But in recent years New Delhi and Riyadh have ramped up a multi-layered bilateral relationship that now spans areas as diverse as oil, technology, infrastructure, defence and counter-terrorism. Indian company L&T is building Riyadh's metro while Saudi Arabia is the largest source of oil for India. Add 2.8 million Indian expats in Saudi Arabia and the logic of an enhanced relationship is apparent.

    This is the fulcrum of India's new "Look Middle East" — an economic/strategic outreach to a region with which India has a trade relationship of over $180 billion, source of 60 per cent of India's energy supplies, home to 7 million Indians and massive remittances. In December, Salman Khurshid presided over a meeting of heads of mission from this region in Manama, where MEA gave this initiative shape and direction. For the first time, the foreign office is trying to look at the region the way it looks at itself — not as West Asia, or the Gulf, but as Middle East.

    The first part is a sharply increased high level interaction with the Arab states. Just in the past eight months, New Delhi has played host to Iraqi PM Nouri al Maliki, prime minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, UAE foreign minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, King of Bahrain Hamad Al Khalifa, latest in a long string of visits started by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani in 2012.

    The primary driving force is economics and energy. Arab states have strong trading ties with India, but low investment. For instance, Kuwait holds a massive sovereign fund — over $350 billion — which India should be targeting for investment opportunities here. Kuwait, which also supplies 10 per cent of India's oil imports, is being tapped to invest in India's strategic fuel reserve, long term energy contracts. The bilateral investment agreement with the UAE is being seen as a game changer for improving bilateral investment. On March 3, the India-UAE task force on investment will hold its second meeting in Mumbai to identify specific projects for investment. Anand Sharma will lead the Indian delegation while the UAE side will be led by Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, MD of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

    Bahrain indicated last week it would focus on financial services, business and professional services, information technology and high value-added manufacturing in India. Oman remains India's favourite Arab country, and that is unlikely to change. One just has to look at the continuing success of Omifco to understand that.

    If these visits have shown anything, its repeated interest by the Arab countries. The problem, as always, is how well India optimizes this interest. The MEA typically diverts foreign investment interest to the states, which swiftly runs aground because foreign countries find it impossible to navigate the tough terrain in the provinces. The foreign office needs to increase ins engagement with Indian states, identifying projects, facilitating investment in key sectors, including making land available, these are hurdles foreign investors have complained about repeatedly. To be fair, MEA itself has pondered this question, but at present they don't have the tools to put this kind of facilitation into operation.

    The second aspect is security, defence, counter-piracy, counter-terrorism, money laundering etc. Saudi Arabia, despite delivering high value terror suspects to India, continue to promote the dangerous Wahhabi ideology by funding madrassas in the developing world. Qatar funds Syrian rebels, even those from al Qaida stable. And the UAE is favourite of the terror/crime set coming out of Pakistan and Afghanistan. India wants to increase the costs of anti-India activities in these nations, by increasing their economic stakes in India. In return, India promises to provide a stable and profitable investment destination with a high quality pool of human resources. Politically, India is seen as a benign power, albeit short of potential but long on capacity. Khurshid assured Arab leaders in Manama in December — "India has the capabilities and the will to not only safeguard India's own coastline and island territories, but also contribute to keeping our region's SLOCs open and flowing" while assuring them that India would not do a "boots-on-the-ground" military intervention.

    Arab states are also balancing their international relations, after having spent decades in the US pocket. China, Russia and India are now the alternative powers for the Arabs who appear to be particularly spooked by three things — US' coming energy independence, US disinterest in Syria and US' potential toleration of a nuclear capable Iran.

    The last is the most potent. Arab disquiet on Iran was articulated forcefully by Saudi royal Prince Turki al Faisal. At an international forum in Monaco in December, Turki was quoted as saying, "We've seen several red lines put forward by the president, which went along and became pinkish as time grew, and eventually ended up completely white... When that kind of assurance comes from a leader of a country like the United States, we expect him to stand by it." He added, "There is an issue of confidence."

    The decisive Indian move to the Arab world has implications for India's long-standing relationship with Iran, despite denials from New Delhi's clever mandarins. Javad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister, who will also be making his first visit here this week, will be expected to brief the Indian leadership on the nuclear talks with P5+1. All this while, India maintained an ambiguous stance on Iran's nuclear ambitions, opposing weapons but sort of winking at a civilian capability, while believing the US would not be able to stop Iran's nuclear march and would ultimately engage the Shia power. India may well be correct on all counts.

    But in recent months, India has firmed up to the position that there should be a definite and verifiable wall between Iran and its weapons, largely because of the possible nuclear breakout its absence would induce in the neighbourhood. Iran will remain an important regional partner for India, for a large number of well known reasons, including Afghanistan, though even there Iran plays games with the Taliban. But if Pakistan is being used to send jihadis into Syria, and once again expand its terror base, Tehran's engagement with India should acquire new facets. There will always be little economic engagement with Iran, particularly if we see the potential in the Arab world. Iran too has to up its game with India — its been over a decade that India has indicated it wants to develop the Chahbahar port, a win-win project for Iran. Its also the best way to keep India anchored strategically to Iranian interests. But Tehran has shown itself to be even more difficult than India! Repeated delays are having the 'cold shower' effect on India. Moreover, there aren't that many Indians making Iran their home. But unspoken in the Indian strategists' mind is the understanding that the Wahhabi/Salafist cocktail promoted by Saudi Arabia and Qatar is more dangerous than what Iran exports. And if the US is upping its game with Iran, India sees no reason to abandon its equity in that country.
     
  9. feathers

    feathers Tihar Jail Banned

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    Relations with Saudi Arabia would help to reduce distrust between India and Pakistan and like this India can increase trade and benefit , this will benefit India in long term and the pipeline from Afghanistan will be reality via Pakistan.
     
  10. Haman10

    Haman10 Regular Member

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    mate , lets agree to disagree

    the terror problem was caused by extremist saudi arabia in the first place !! how can they be fighting terrorism while they chant allaho akbar (God is greatest) while beheading and killing innocent people ?

    unfortunately i cannot post the pictures of their conspiracies due to their disgusting nature

    still , as we always said , india has the right to be friends with anyone they want and this wont effect our relations . as an example our worst enemy is israel

    while india has good relations with israel , our relations are not only not dropping but also growing significantly
     
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  11. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Ok let me be more specific. It has been good for India recently to get hold of some terrorists who they extradited to India.

    I will agree on Saudi ideology and money promoting terrorism world over. So no question on agreeing to disagree. :)
     
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