New Delhi, Feb. 21: India and Saudi Arabia today agreed on the need for creating conditions necessary for the resumption of a comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan. Earlier in the day, a Saudi minister had said Riyadh would only mediate if asked by both countries.
The message contained in the India-Saudi Arabia joint statement released late Wednesday night is of first creating a conducive atmosphere for talks by “comprehensive sanctioning of terrorists and their organisations by the UN” and renouncing of “terrorism as an instrument of state policy”. Though aimed at no specific country, the message is for sanctioning of Jaish chief Masood Azhar since the UN has already sanctioned his organisation.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan has just visited Islamabad, where he hoped that Pakistan would have the “great leadership” help it benefit from the economic growth of India and China. Though there is no visible attempt at mediation, there is a clear Saudi signal to both countries to tone down tension and prioritise economic growth.
In what could make Pakistan sit up, both countries agreed to cooperate and collaborate in joint defence production of spare parts for Naval and land systems as well as supply chain development.
With regards to regional connectivity projects, both sides agreed that they should be based on international law, including “respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of states”. This could mean accommodating the Indian position on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor which New Delhi says traverses an area that is under Pakistan's illegal occupation.
The statement empathised with Indian PM Narendra Modi's surprise visit to Pakistan by noting his “personal initiatives to have friendly relations with Pakistan”. Though the statement travelled familiar ground on security and counter-terrorism, the increments were a consensus to consider real-time intelligence sharing by setting up a “Comprehensive Security Dialogue” at the level of National Security Advisers and set up a joint working group on counter-terrorism.
In the area of investments, the Crown Prince saw potential of business worth $ 100 billion in five areas -- infrastructure, mining, energy, including renewables, food security and technology transfer. Besides, opportunities are being explored for $10 billion through the public investment fund and other investments opportunities potentially worth $26 billion. Agencies
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