New Delhi, Feb 20 India and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday strongly condemned the terror attack on Indian forces in Pulwama, called upon countries to renounce use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy and underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the United Nations.
The remarks on the UN sanctions regime during discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman came two days after the joint statement issued during the visit of the Saudi Arabian leader to Pakistan which had “underlined the need for avoiding politicisation of UN listing regime”.
However, there was no direct mention of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) which has claimed the responsibility for Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel last week. India has linked Pakistan with the attack.
Briefing the media following delegation-level talks between Modi and Salman here, Secretary (Economic Relations) T.S. Tirumurti said both sides agreed to set up a Strategic Partnership Council and Saudi Arabia would invest $100 billion in India in a range of areas, terming it “a clear reflection of confidence in the vibrancy of Indian econony”.
Saudi Arabia had signed agreements for investment of $20 billion during Prince Mohammed’s visit to Pakistan.
Tirumurti also said the two leaders agreed to constitute a comprehensive security dialogue at the NSA level and set up a joint working group on counter-terrorism and agreed to increase the frequency of direct flights between India and Saudi Arabia by 3,84,000 seats per annum which will give a huge boost to tourism.
Modi, in his remarks at the joint media interaction with the Saudi leader, mentioned the “barbaric terror attack” in Pulwama and said it was another manifestation of the danger posed by terrorism to humanity.
“We agree that to deal with it effectively, there is need to put all possible pressure on countries which are giving any kind of support to terrorism,” Modi said.
Modi had restricted, one-on-one and delegation-level talks with the visiting leader. The two sides signed five agreements including Saudi investment in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and cooperation in the areas of tourism, housing and broadcasting, besides enhancing bilateral investment relations.
The Prime Minister said it was extremely necessary to destroy terror infrastructure and to punish terrorists and their supporters.
Modi said there was need for an action plan to deal with extremism so that the youths were not misguided by forces linked to terror and violence.
“I am happy that Saudi Arabia and India have common thoughts on this,” he said.
Prince Salman, in his remarks, said that extremism and terrorism were common concerns of the two countries and Saudi Arabia will fully cooperate with India.
He said the two leaders expressed strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
India is keen to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations.
Asked how the remarks of the two leaders squared up with Saudi-Pakistan joint statement, Tirumurti said he did not want to comment on it, but “if you are really looking at politicisation, you know who is politicising it”.
Tirumurti said the two leaders called upon all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorist infrastructure, cut off any kind of support and financing to terrorists from all territories against other states and bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice.
“The two leaders condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attack on Indian forces in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir. Both leaders called upon all countries to renounce use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy. They called upon states to deny access to weapons to commit terrorist acts against other countries.
“Both leaders underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the United Nations. They called for concerted action by the international community against terrorism and early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT),” he said.
Answering a query, he said the complicity of Pakistan in Pulwama attack was very much underlined.
He said that Prince Mohammed appreciated “consistent efforts” by Modi since May 2014 including Prime Minister’s personal initiatives to have friendly relations with Pakistan”.
“In this context, both sides agreed on the creation of conditions necessary for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan,” he said.
He also said that no mediation was offered by the Saudi authorities.
On the defence front, the two leaders agreed to hold the first naval exercises at the earliest.
Tirumurti said the visiting leader conveyed his appreciation of the Indian model which signifies the ethos of inclusiveness, pluralism and tolerance.
The official said Modi welcomed the announcement of Crown Prince to invest $100 billion in India in a range of areas like energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.
He said they expressed satisfaction at the first joint venture in energy of a refinery and petrochemical project at Ratnagiri estimated at $44 billion and the Prime Minister welcomed Saudi Arabia’s participation in India’s strategic petroleum reserves.
The $100-billion proposed Saudi investment also includes that in the refinery project.
Tirumurti said the two leaders agreed to increase the frequency of direct flights of carriers India and Saudi Arabia by 3,84,000 seats per annum which will give a huge boost to tourism as well as large Indian community.
He said at India’s request, Saudi Arabia decided to increase Haj quota from India to two lakh from the present 1.75 lakh. India, he said, has also decided to extend e-visa facilities to Saudi nationals.
Tirumurti said Saudi Arabia also agreed to resolve issues related to Indian workers who are currently stranded in Saudi Arabia due to closure of one foreign company.
The two leaders agreed to enhance maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean Region and vowed to cooperate along with other Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries in serving as the net security provider for IOR.
In a veiled reference to China’s “One Belt, One Road” project, which also includes China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Triumurti said both sides agreed that regional connectivity projects should be based on univsersally recognised international norms including respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states.
Prince Mohammed, who arrived in the capital on Tuesday on a two-day first state visit to India, was earlier in the day accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on Prince Mohammed and President Ram Nath Kovind hosted a banquet for the visiting dignitary.