New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday condemned “in the strongest terms” the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad, in a joint statement by India and Saudi Arabia.
The statement also said that both sides agree on the need for creation of “conditions necessary” for resumption of the comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan. PM Modi and the Saudi prince held bilateral talks earlier on Wednesday in the shadow of escalating tension with Pakistan over last week’s Pulwama terror attack, in which 40 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad. The Prince was welcomed by PM Modi as he arrived in New Delhi after a two-day visit to Pakistan, where he praised Islamabad’s efforts for “regional peace and security”.
“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 and Kashmir,” the joint statement said and added that both sides called upon all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy in the joint statement.
“The common concern is terrorism and extremism. We will cooperate with India and neighboring states to ensure future generations are safe. We applaud India’s role in this matter,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a joint press conference with PM Modi. Saudi Arabia, he said, will help India on this front through intelligence sharing.
“We have agreed that terrorism should not be supported in any form, and we should put pressure on countries that back terror. To end terror infrastructure, ending support to terror groups and punishing them is essential, so that young people don’t take up arms … I’m glad Saudi Arabia agrees with India on this,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.
PM Modi said discussions were also held on various aspects of the strategic relationship and trade ties. “It is time to convert energy partnership into strategic partnership, this is no longer just a buyer seller relationship. I welcome Saudi investment in infrastructure,” he added.
Saudi Arabia has committed to deals to the tune of 100 billion dollars, which includes $11 billion investments in mega petrochemical project in Maharashtra. They have identified a few projects where they will invest the remaining 89 billion dollars.
PM Modi broke protocol to personally welcome the Saudi Prince at the Delhi airport with a warm hug. But his gesture drew Congress barbs. “Breaking protocol, grand welcome to those who pledged USD 20 billion to Pakistan and praised Pakistan”s ”anti-terror” efforts. Is it ur way of remembering martyrs of Pulwama?” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala tweeted.
Amid India’s efforts to diplomatically isolate Pakistan over the Pulwama terror attack, the Saudi Crown Prince has announced investments worth 20 billion dollars during his two-day visit to Islamabad on Monday.
Saudi Arabia has vowed to “de-escalate” rising tensions between Pakistan and India during the high-profile summit in Islamabad. A joint statement said during the talks, the Crown Prince and the Deputy Prime Minister also stressed that “dialogue is the only way to ensure peace and stability in the region to resolve outstanding issues”.
The Saudi prince’s visit comes nearly three years after PM Modi’s visit to Riyadh in 2016, during which the two nations expanded cooperation across diverse areas including trade, investment and counter-terrorism.
From India, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to leave for China. His three-nation tour of South Asia comes five months after a huge diplomatic crisis following the murder of journalist and fierce critic Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.