Indian PM, Saudi crown prince discuss new economic corridor

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday discussed trade ties and commercial linkages between the two nations, including a new multinational rail and shipping project linking the South Asian country with the Middle East and Europe.

The Saudi ruler began his day-long state visit to India after participating in the G-20 summit over the weekend. He was received by Indian President Droupadi Murmu at the presidential palace in New Delhi, where an official reception was held.

Modi and Bin Salman later participated in the first Saudi-India Strategic Partnership Council meeting, and discussed energy security, trade and investment, defense and security, healthcare, food security, culture and community welfare issues, according to India’s External Affairs Ministry.

“We have taken a decision to start a historic economic corridor between India, West Asia and Europe. This corridor will not only connect two countries but also help in providing economic growth, and digital connectivity between Asia, West Asia and Europe,” Modi told the meeting.

Saudi Arabia, the EU, India, UAE, France, Germany, Italy and the US signed a memorandum at the G-20 summit, committing to work together to establish the India – Middle East – Europe Economic Corridor. The project is expected to stimulate economic development through enhanced connectivity and economic integration between Asia, the Arabian Gulf, and Europe.

“We are adding a new dimension to our ties in tune with changing times. For India, Saudi Arabia is one of our most important strategic partners,” Modi said. “We have identified several initiatives to take our close partnership to the next level. Saudi Arabia is important for India.”

Later in a tweet, Modi said he had “productive talks” with Bin Salman. “We reviewed our trade ties and are confident that the commercial linkages between our nations will grow even further in the times to come. The scope for cooperation in grid connectivity, renewable energy, food security, semiconductors and supply chains is immense,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

The Saudi crown prince, for his part, said they will cooperate “to build the future” of our countries and “create opportunities.”

“Today we are working on future opportunities … I congratulate you on the management of the G-20 summit and the initiatives achieved, including the economic corridor linking the Middle East, India and Europe, which requires that we work diligently to make it a reality.”

​​​​​​​India and Saudi Arabia enjoy close and friendly relations, and people-to-people contacts. Bilateral trade volume reached an all-time high of $52.75 billion in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

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