Full text of India-Saudi Arabia joint statement: Modi and MbS ink five MoUs, condemn Pulwama attack in 'strongest terms'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday held extensive talks in New Delhi after which the two leaders inked five agreements in various fields, including tourism and enhancement of bilateral investment relations.

"A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on investing in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund between the Government of India and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," the MEA statement read.  Among other MoUs, the two sides also inked an agreement for cooperation in the field of housing, it said. 

The two leaders explored ways to further deepen strategic ties against the backdrop of escalating tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack, as per the statement. Both Modi and Salman condemned in "strongest terms" the Pulwama terror attack in which 42 CRPF jawans were killed by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), in the joint statement. 

Calling terrorism and extremism a "common concern", the Saudi prince said his country will "cooperate with India and neighbouring states" on the matter.

Here is the full text of the statement by the Ministry of External Affairs:

Full text of India-Saudi Arabia joint statement: Modi and MbS ink five MoUs, condemn Pulwama attack in strongest terms

File image of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reuters

1. At the invitation of Hon’ble Prime Minister of the Republic of India Shri Narendra Modi, and under the guidance of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia paid his first State visit to India from 19-20 February 2019, where he was received at the airport by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. The visit follows the official visit of Prime Minister Modi to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in April, 2016 at the invitation of the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

2. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince was accorded a ceremonial welcome on February 20, 2019 at the Forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi. President Kovind also hosted a banquet dinner in honour of His Royal Highness.

3. Prime Minister Modi and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz held delegation level talks at Hyderabad House on February 20, 2019. External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj called on His Royal Highness.

4. India and Saudi Arabia enjoy cordial and friendly relations reflecting the centuries old economic and socio-cultural ties. Close geographical proximity, civilizational links, cultural affinity, natural synergies, vibrant people to people contacts. Common challenges and opportunities have added momentum to this robust engagement.

5. The bilateral discussions were held in the spirit of strong friendship that binds the two countries and their leaders. They expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of bilateral ties of friendship and cooperation, which are marked by trust, mutual understanding, goodwill and respect for each other’s interests. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in diverse fields including trade, energy, security and cultural spheres since the landmark visit of the Prime Minister to Riyadh in April 2016 – a visit which served to enhance our engagement and take our relations to the next level.

6. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the recent changes initiated by His Royal Highness Crown Prince to bring in moderation and openness in Saudi Arabia while His Royal Highness the Crown Prince conveyed his appreciation for Indian model of ethos of inclusiveness, pluralism and tolerance.

7. The two sides re-affirmed their deep commitment to strengthen the ‘strategic partnership’ envisaged in the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ of February 2010 and reiterated during the visit of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, in February 2014 and the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Saudi Arabia in April 2016.

8. The two sides agreed to cement the existing ‘Strategic Partnership’ with ‘high level monitoring mechanism by the creation of Strategic Partnership Council led by the Honourable Prime Minister and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, supported by ministerial representation covering the whole spectrum of strategic relationships.

9. Both sides welcomed the outcomes of the Workshop between NITI Aayog and Saudi Centre for International Strategic Partnership (SCISP) organised recently in Riyadh. The Workshop has identified more than 40 opportunities of joint collaboration and investments across various sectors.

10. The following MoUs were signed during the visit:-

(I) MoU on investing in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund of India.

(II) MoU on cooperation in the field of Tourism.

(III) MoU on cooperation in the field of Housing.

(IV) Framework cooperation programme between Invest India and Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA).

(V) MoU for cooperation on Broadcasting for exchange of Audio-Visual Programmes.

(VI) Agreement for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) launched by Honourable Prime Minister Modi.

11. Taking note of the positive trend in the bilateral trade over the recent years, the two sides acknowledged the huge untapped potential available in the merchandise trade, particularly in the non-oil trade. The two sides appreciated the positive deliberations held during the 12th session of the India-Saudi Joint Commission Meeting held in Riyadh in February 2018, for enhancing cooperation in economic, commercial, investment, cultural and technological fields.

12. The two sides stressed the importance of increasing trade volume between the two countries, and eliminating export barriers.

13. The two sides agreed on further deepening trade and investment cooperation between the two countries by aligning the Kingdom’sVision 2030 and its 13 Vision Realization Programs with India’s flagship initiatives of "Make in India”, "Start Up India”, "Smart Cities”, "Clean India”, and "Digital India”. The Saudi side expressed its readiness to attract Indian private/ public sector investments and expertise, in the upcoming mega projects in Saudi Arabia. The two sides acknowledged positive transformation of economies of India and Saudi Arabia.

14. Both sides welcomed the key initiatives taken by both Governments to improve the ease of doing business, simplify and rationalize existing rules and relax the foreign direct investment norms in key areas.

15. Both sides welcomed the positive change in investment climate after the signing of the Framework Cooperation Agreement between the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and Invest India during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Riyadh in 2016. The two sides urged the business communities to utilize the investment opportunities in both countries, especially in the fields of infrastructure, mining, energy including renewables, food security and technology transfer, and to further consolidate cooperation in the areas of skilled human resources in information technology, electronics and telecommunications.

16. Recognizing the availability of sophisticated infrastructure and logistical services in the Kingdom’s industrial cities and ports, His Royal Highness welcomed investments by Indian companies in the Kingdom for domestic and regional market access.

17. The Prime Minister welcomed the announcement of His Royal Highness to invest in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining, manufacturing, education and health potentially worth in excess of $100 billion.

18. The two sides expressed satisfaction at the first Joint Venture West Coast Refinery and Petrochemical Project estimated to cost US $ 44 billion and both sides agreed to expedite the implementation of the project, which will be the largest green field refinery in the world to be implemented in one phase. In addition, $10 billion through the Public Investment Fund and its technology partners, and other investments opportunities potentially worth $26 billion being explored.

19. The Prime Minister of India welcomed the investment from Saudi Arabia in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and other key sectors in India. In this context, both sides appreciated the signing of the MoU on investing in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) as it will pave the way for expanding bilateral economic cooperation.

20. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the intent by Saudi side towards investments in India, especially in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining, manufacturing, education and health.

21. The two sides welcomed the signing of MoU for Cooperation in the field of Housing and encouraged Indian companies to participate in the housing projects in Saudi Arabia.

22. His Royal Highness Crown Prince welcomed Prime Minister’s initiative on Coalition on Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and hailed it as an important step towards disaster management.

23. Recognizing the importance of the energy security as a key pillar of the strategic partnership, the two sides expressed desire to grow bilateral trade in the energy sector, acknowledging Saudi Arabia as the world’s most reliable supplier of oil & gas and the key supplier to India. The two sides stressed on continuation of the India-Saudi Arabia Energy consultations. The two sides agreed to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy-sector to strategic partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in petrochemical complexes.

24. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to meet India’s growing needs for crude oil and petroleum products and substitute for any shortages that may arise as a result of any disruptions from other sources.

25. The Prime Minister also welcomed the Kingdom’s participation in the India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPRs).

26. The Prime Minister of India welcomed the decision of the Saudi side to join the International Solar Alliance. Both sides noted the potential cooperation in the renewable energy sector not only in investment but also in Research and Development.

27. The two sides also agreed to cooperate in the areas of space, science and technology, including remote sensing, satellite communication and satellite-based navigation.

28. The two sides agreed to set up a Joint Working Group on Skill Development to identify areas of cooperation, where the two countries can benefit from each other’s core competencies in important fields such as manufacturing, information technology, communications, and programming.

29. The two sides welcomed the recent developments in India-Saudi co-operation in the defence sector, particularly in the fields of exchange of expertise and training, especially after the MoU on Defence Cooperation signed during the visit of His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to India in February 2014. In this context, they welcomed the outcomes of the recently held 4th Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation in Riyadh on 2-3 January, 2019.

30. The two sides agreed to hold the inaugural joint naval exercises at the earliest and agreed to further expand bilateral exercises in other domains.

31. Noting the potential and mutual benefit, the two sides agreed to cooperate and collaborate in joint defence production of spare parts for Naval and Land systems as well as supply chain development, in line with ‘Make in India’ and ‘Vision 2030’.

32. The two sides agreed to work together with other Indian Ocean Rim Countries for enhancing maritime security, vital for the security and prosperity of both countries and safe passage for international trade.

33. With regards to regional connectivity projects, both sides agreed that they should be based on international law including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.

34. The two sides stressed the importance of regional stability and good neighbouring relations. His Royal Highness appreciated consistent efforts made by Prime Minister Modi since May 2014 including Prime Minister’s personal initiatives to have friendly relations with Pakistan. In this context, both sides agreed on the need for creation of conditions necessary for resumption of the comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan.

35. Affirming that the menace of extremism and terrorism threatens all nations and societies, the two sides rejected any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion or culture. Both sides called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries; dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists perpetrating terrorism from all territories against other states; and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice. The two sides also noted the need for concerted action by the international community against terrorism including through early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the UN.

36. Both sides called up on all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. They also called upon all states to deny access to weapons including missiles and drones to commit terrorist acts against other countries.

37. The Prime Minister and His Royal Highness condemned in the strongest terms, the recent terrorist attack on Indian security forces on 14 February, 2019 in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir.

38. The two sides discussed regional and international issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in West Asia and Middle East, in the light of their common interest in the regional and global peace, security and stability. Both sides emphasized Security Council Resolution (2254) with regard to the solution in Syria, and Security Council Resolution (2216), the GCC initiative, and the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue with regard to the solution in Yemen.

39. The two sides expressed their hope for achieving a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East based on the Arab Peace Initiative and the relevant UN resolutions, to guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.

40. To enhance further cooperation in the Counter-terrorism efforts and benefit mutually from real-time intelligence sharing, the two sides agreed to constitute a ‘Comprehensive Security Dialogue’ at the level of National Security Advisors and set up a Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism.

41. The Prime Minister and His Royal Highness reiterated to continue the ongoing close cooperation on a range of security issues, particularly on maritime security, law enforcement, anti-money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal migration, and other transnational organized crimes.

42. Expressing serious concerns at the misuse of cyber space as a medium to promote subversive and extremist ideologies, the two sides welcomed the signing of MoU on Technical Cooperation in Cyber Space and Combating Cyber Crime. Both sides agreed to promote cooperation including prevention of the use of Cyberspace for terror, radicalism and incitement to disturb social harmony.

43. The Indian side thanked the Saudi leadership for hosting a large Indian community and for ensuring their continued welfare and well-being.

44. Prime Minister thanked the Saudi leadership for designating India as the ‘Guest of Honour’ in the 32nd Saudi National Festival of Heritage & Culture – Janadriyah 2018. The two sides emphasized on further enhancing people to people contacts and strengthening the cultural cooperation by organizing Cultural weeks - ‘India Week in Saudi Arabia’ and ‘Saudi Arabia Week in India’ at regular intervals.

45. Prime Minister expressed his thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and to Highness the Crown Prince for increasing the quota for Hajj pilgrims from India to 200,000 to reflect the latest census.

46. Prime Minister expressed his thanks to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and to His Royal Highness for ordering the release of 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails.

47. Both sides expressed the desire to broaden people-to-people interactions and to increase two-way tourism by addressing challenges with regard to consular and immigration related issues.

48. The Indian Government has agreed to increase the seats of Saudi Arabian Airlines from 80,000 Seats/Months to 112,000 Seats/Month and studies underway to increase that number substantially.

49. Both sides look forward to the integration of migration platforms of both the countries viz., e-Migrate and e-Tawtheeq to create a robust migration environment.

50. Both sides agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in the area of payment systems including RuPAY for the benefit of Indian community in general and more particularly the Hajj/Umrah pilgrims. The Prime Minister thanked His Royal Highness Crown Prince for sorting out the issue of "Iqamah” for the Indian Labour who were stranded in Saudi Arabia for no fault of their own, and resolving this humanitarian issue.

51. Both sides committed themselves to promoting reformed multilateralism through enhanced cooperation at multilateral fora and in international organisations, including in UN, G-20, WTO, etc. In this context, they emphasised the need for reform in global governance architecture such as UN Security Council, WTO, international financial systems, etc.

52. Both sides emphasized the importance of an effective reformed multilateral system, centred on a UN reflective of contemporary realities, as a key factor in tackling global challenges. They stressed upon the urgent need to pursue UN reforms, including of the Security Council.

53. The two sides also reiterated their commitment to working together to address fugitive economic offenders including through international organisations and institutions.

54. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence expressed his gratitude to the Government and people of India for the warm hospitality extended to him and the accompanying delegation.

New Delhi
February 20, 2019

The full text has been reproduced from website of Ministry of External Affairs and has not been edited by Firstpost for style and clarity.

Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.

Updated Date: Feb 21, 2019 11:49:13 IST

Also See