Modi in Saudi Arabia: What to expect from the visit?

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When Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, the sixth king of Saudi Arabia passed, the Indian government announced a day's mourning and even sent vice president Hamid Ansari to Riyadh.

Many were surprised by this move and questions were asked about this, but the Narendra Modi government had more on its mind.

PM Narendra Modi

Modi visits Saudi Arabia on April 2 and 3. It is an important visit on both counts- security and economy.

One however has to bear in mind that this time around the situation may not be exactly the same as Saudi Arabia is facing issues of its own which range from the problem of extremism and also falling oil prices.

However, Modi is confident and many who are close to him tell OneIndia that this will be a crucial and successful visit.

Combating terror:

Saudi is a key player in the war against terror. Ahead of the visit by the Prime Minister Modi, the Saudi Arabia and the US jointly imposed sanctions on four persons linked to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Taliban and the al-Qaeda. This would no doubt please India since it has been waging a battle against these groups especially the Lashkar-e-Tayiba.

Saudi earlier was a closed country for India in the war against terror. Several operatives would committed horrendous acts of violence in India and seek shelter in Saudi Arabia. However post the 26/11 attack Saudi which was pressurised by the US began to act and began handing over terrorists seeking shelter on their land.

With Modi visiting Saudi Arabia there will be an onus on this aspect as well. Both countries apart from continuing with their cooperation to fight terror would also discuss another unique problem called the ISIS. India has been facing trouble with several youth being radicalised.

Most of the hard core elements operate out of Saudi Arabia and both nations would find a way to tackle the issue. As a first step both countries would discuss steps to curb the sectarian violence which has become the core of the problem and the strength of the ISIS.

Economic ties:

Modi would also hold talks with King Salman and discuss investments. India buys nearly 20 per cent of its oil from Saudi Arabia. Moreover, Saudi Arabia is also the four largest trade partner for India. In addition to this Saudi has also been investing in India heavily.

However, both nations would have to find a solution in the wake of the slowdown of the Gulf economy. India has at least 8 million workers in the Gulf region and if the economy continues to slow down further, then it would cause immense trouble to the Indians in the Gulf.

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