Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a bilateral meeting in Delhi after the G20 summit.
The leaders participated in the first meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council at Hyderabad House, where agreements were reached on important issues between the two countries.
Diplomatic relations between India and Saudi Arabia have been very old, with visits from Saudi King Saud bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in 1955 and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956. Since Modi assumed power in 2014, he has visited Saudi Arabia twice.
India and Saudi Arabia have an annual trade of over $5,000 crore, with India importing goods worth about $4,000 crore from Saudi Arabia in 2022–23 and exporting about $1,000 crore.
Trade between the two countries has almost doubled in the last five years, with more than 700 Indian companies working in Saudi Arabia, which have invested more than $200 crore there.
Saudi Arabia has made changes in its foreign policy over the years, moving away from the US’s subservient image and joining hands with other countries like China, Russia, and India. Analysts believe that Saudi Arabia wants to increase investment in other sectors while reducing its dependence on oil.
Since Prime Minister Modi assumed power, there have been significant changes in India-Saudi relations. The Strategic Partnership Council was formed between the two countries in 2019, and Bin Salman visited Pakistan before the G-20 conference, suggesting that Saudi Arabia is trying to create a balance between India and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor agreement signed during the G-20 summit connects India, Middle Eastern countries, and Europe and is considered China’s answer to the ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR).