Regional Security on top of Manmohan Singh's Saudi agenda

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Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Feb 27(ANI): Regional security with a focus on current developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan are expected to dominate Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's talks with the Saudi leadership.

Sources have told ANI that regional security will be discussed during Prime Minister's three-day visit to Riyadh, as this issue is of interest to the Saudi leadership. Dr. Singh arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on the invitation of King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz.

The Saudi leadership has expressed a willingness to cooperate on this issue, as well as to minimize threats on terrorists, but it has reportedly ruled out direct negotiations with terrorist organizations. ccording to sources, during Manmohan Singh's visit India and Saudi Arabia are also expected to form a mechanism on sharing real time intelligence.

India and Saudi Arabia will also be signing extradition treaty along with nine other agreements on wide ranging issues of bilateral importance to both countries, including security, science and technology.

Saudi Arabia holds immense clout in Pakistan, and most of the terrorist outfits operating from Pakistan and Afghanistan believe in Wahabi ideology, which has its origin in Saudi Arabia. In fact Afghanistan President has directly asked Saudi leadership to play a role in reintegrating the Taliban.

India is also hoping to seek Saudi Arabia's cooperation and influence in combating cross border terrorism emanating especially from Pakistani soil.

In the long term, India is also seeking Saudi Arabia's cooperation in safeguarding its assets and services in Afghanistan, where it has huge stakes and invested in the developmental projects in tune of 1.4 billion dollars.

During his stay Prime Minister will also be called upon by Saudi Oil Minister and Mineral Resources Ali Al Naimi, Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal and Commerce and Industry Minister Abdullah Zainel Alireza.

Prime Minister is accompanied by a high power official delegation which includes Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Petroleum and Natural gas Minister Murli Deora, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.

PM will also be meeting with the council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and address Majlis Al Shura on powerful and influential council of intellectuals.

He will be hosted by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and the entire official delegation will be staying in King Saud Guest Palace, which is a rare gesture given to likes of Turkish, French and US head of states. by Naveen Kapoor(ANI)

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