King Saud University to confer doctorate on Manmohan Singh

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Riyadh, Feb.28 (ANI): The King Saud University will confer a doctorate on the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

The conferment of a doctorate is being seen as another mark of respect extended to Dr. Singh by the Saudi leadership.

The visiting dignitary has already been accored an unprecedented reception on his arrival in Riyadh on Saturday. The entire Saudi Cabinet came to receive him. This rare gesture was earlier only extended by the Saudi royal family to French President N.Sarkozy and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Atleast a 40-km-long stretch of Riyadh is dotted with Indian and Saudi flags.

Locals say this has never happened before. Such enthusiasm was not even there when former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited Riyadh in 1982 said a veteran based in Riyadh.

India see it as a qualitative change in what is a cliched relationship. These gestures are being viewed as an indication of a genuine strategic partnership in the making.

The Prime Minister will address the powerful Majlis-e-Shura (Council of Intellectuals) on Monday and will be given a formal reception by Saudi King Abdullah on the same day Both countries will be signing more than ten agreements,including an extradition treaty and an exchange of sentenced people.

According to sources, both countries are working on a Riyadh Declaration similar to the Delhi Declaration signed in 2006. By Naveen Kapoor (ANI)

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