India, Saudi Slam Pulwama Attack, Agree on Dialogue with Pakistan; Saudi to Free 850 Indian Prisoners


Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a meeting at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi, on Wednesday. — IANS/MEA)

The two sides also rejected any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion or culture, affirming that the menace of extremism and terrorism threatens all nations and societies.

NEW DELHI (IANS) — India and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday condemned “in strongest terms” the terror attack on Indian security forces in Pulwama, called upon countries to bring perpetrators of such acts to justice and underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organizations 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 the UN listing regime”.

However, the joint statement issued late on Wednesday did not mention Pakistan or Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) based in that country which had claimed responsibility for the Pulwama attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel last week. India has linked Pakistan with the terror attack.

However, Pakistan was mentioned in the context of “consistent efforts” made by Prime Minister Modi since May 2014 including his personal initiatives to have friendly relations with the neighbouring country, with the visiting leader appreciating the efforts.

The statement said that both sides agreed on the need “for the creation of conditions necessary for the resumption of the comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan”.

Modi welcomed the announcement by Prince Mohammed to invest in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining, manufacturing, education, and health potentially worth in excess of $100 billion.

Saudi Arabia had signed agreements for the investment of $20 billion during Prince Mohammed’s visit to Pakistan.

The joint statement said that both sides called upon all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorist infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists perpetrating terrorism from all territories against other states and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice. 

The two sides also rejected any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any particular race, religion or culture, affirming that the menace of extremism and terrorism threatens all nations and societies. Pakistan claims to be the biggest victim of terrorism.

India and Saudi Arabia also called upon all countries to renounce the use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

“The two sides also noted the need for concerted action by the international community against terrorism including through early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism and underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organizations by the UN,” the statement said.

They called upon all states to deny access to weapons, including missiles and drones, to commit terrorist acts against other countries.

“The Prime Minister and His Royal Highness condemned in the strongest terms the recent terrorist attack on Indian security forces on February 14, 2019 in Pulwama in Jammu & Kashmir,” it 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.

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 a need to put all possible pressure on countries which are giving any kind of support to terrorism,” Modi said.

Modi has had restricted, one-on-one and delegation level talks with the visiting leader. The two sides signed six agreements including Saudi investment in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

The Prime Minister said it was extremely necessary to destroy terror infrastructure and to punish terrorists and their supporters.

Modi said there was a 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 would fully cooperate with India.

India is keen to get JeM chief Masood Azhar designated as a global terrorist by the United Nations.

Asked at a press briefing later how the remarks of the two leaders squared up with Saudi-Pakistan joint statement, Secretary (Economic Relations) T.S. Tirumurti said he did now want to comment on it, but “if you are really looking at politicization, you know who is politicizing it”.

Answering a query, he said the complicity of Pakistan in Pulwama attack was very much underlined during the talks.

He also said that no mediation was offered by the Saudi authorities.

On the defense 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 signified the ethos of inclusiveness, pluralism, and tolerance.

The two sides expressed satisfaction at the first Joint Venture West Coast Refinery and Petrochemical Project estimated to cost $44 billion and both sides agreed to expedite the implementation of the project, which would be the largest greenfield refinery in the world to be implemented in one phase.

In addition, $10 billion through the Public Investment Fund and its technology partners, and other investments opportunities potentially worth $26 billion are being explored.

The two sides agreed to promote cooperation to prevent the use of cyberspace for terror, radicalism, and incitement to disturb social harmony. 

The statement said that the Indian Government had agreed to increase the seats of Saudi Arabian Airlines “from 80,000 seats/month to 112,000 seats/month” and studies were underway to increase that number substantially.

It said that both sides looked forward to the integration of migration platforms of the two countries, viz., e-Migrate and e-Tawtheeq, to create a robust migration environment.

Saudi Arabia decided to increase haj quota from India to two lakh from the present 1.75 lakh and release 850 Indian prisoners.

India, he said, had decided to extend e-visa facilities to Saudi nationals.

Coinciding with the visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday ordered the release of 850 Indian prisoners lodged in its jails.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the decision was taken on the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Another big deliverable! At the request of the PM, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has ordered the release of 850 Indian prisoners lodged in Saudi jails,” he said in a tweet.


Clarion India - News, Views and Insights about Indian Muslims, Dalits, Minorities, Women and Other Marginalised and Dispossessed Communities.


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