Saudi Crown Prince and newly appointed Prime Minister of the Kingdom, Mohammed bin Salman is expected to be in New Delhi for a short one-day visit on 14 November .
He will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, before heading to Bali, Indonesia for the G20 Leader’s Summit. The programme is still evolving and there has been no formal announcement of the visit yet.
According to a source, trade and investment will be the key areas of focus during talks between the Indian and Saudi leadership. The trade between the two countries stood at USD 43 billion this fiscal year. India is looking for more exports to the kingdom, Saudi is already a big market for Indian footwear and textiles.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is also hoping to expand its base into India’s petrochemical sector.
Talks on the formation of mutual halal certification agencies to stop misuse and an undersea power transmission line from Saudi Arabia to India are also progressing. Deliberation is also taking place on institutionalising the Rupee-Riyal trade, introduction of UPI and Rupay cards.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to a massive jump in global inflation, driven by spiralling oil prices. Saudi is a major oil exporter to India and New Delhi will be hoping for some relief in this regard.
Saudi-led OPEC is already under fire for cutting oil production from November onwards. The United States says it is a political move and many experts say that this will lead to a further increase in global inflation.
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman recently visited India. Meanwhile, Minister Jaishankar visited Riyadh in September and discussed cooperation in the political, security, and socio-cultural pillars of strategic partnership.