In Delhi, Saudis back India’s line on terror

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Muscat: India and Saudi Arabia have agreed to work together against countries that support any form of terrorism, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

"Today we want to be sure this relationship is maintained and improved for the sake of both countries", the crown prince said in comments to reporters after full ceremonial welcome in Delhi.

The Saudi government has increased the Hajj quota for Pakistan to 200,000 a day after the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman winded up his crucial tour to the country. "Modiji, would you show courage to ask Saudi Arabia to undo its "Joint Statement" with Pak, virtually rejecting India's demand for designating Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist"?" he added.

"Our objective is to try to de-escalate tensions between the two countries, neighboring countries, and to see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully", Saudi minister of state Adel al-Jubeir said in Islamabad on Monday.

Mr Tirumurti informed that to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism efforts, including intelligence sharing, the two countries will start a comprehensive security dialogue at the level of national security advisors.

The Prince is also Saudi Arabia's defence minister. He said, the complicity of Pakistan in Pulwama terror attack was very much underlined during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Crown Prince.

India and Saudi Arabia signed five agreements in infrastructure, investment, tourism, housing, broadcasting and the setting up of a "strategic partnership council". "The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA", he explained.

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A lawmaker from India's main opposition Congress party criticized Modi's "hugplomacy" because of Prince Mohammed's investment pledges in Pakistan and praise for Islamabad's anti-terrorism activities.

Prince Mohammed will leave New Delhi later Wednesday, according to India's External Affairs Ministry.

Modi did not mention Pakistan - a key Saudi ally - as he again blasted the "barbaric attack" in Kashmir last week that left at least 40 paramilitaries dead.

India's ties to Saudi Arabia have grown significantly over the past two decades with bilateral trade hitting $28bn.

They welcomed the recent developments in India-Saudi cooperation in the defense sector, particularly in the fields of exchange of expertise and training, especially after the MoU on Defense Cooperation signed during King Salman's visit to India in February 2014.

"Economic power is shifting from West to East and India will be (the) second-largest economy ahead of the United States, which is a big opportunity for us", Amin Nasser, chief executive of Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil company, told a Delhi investment conference on Wednesday.

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