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Narendra Modi arrives in Saudi Arabia for investment summit and trade talks


Narendra Modi arrives in Saudi Arabia for investment summit and trade talks

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Photo: Raj K Raj/HT

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Riyadh today for a two-day visit, which will include a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

The two are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding that will see Saudi Arabia supply India’s oil reserves—three sites of emergency storage in case of supply disruption. India’s oil reserves currently sit at 55% of capacity, making the memorandum lucrative for Riyadh and providing energy security for New Delhi, which imports some 80% of its oil.

Politically, Modi will look to ensure that Saudi Arabia’s reaction to the revocation of Kashmir’s autonomy status remains muted. Despite outraging close Saudi ally Pakistan, the kingdom failed to condemn India over the move—a stark departure from its previous approach to India-Pakistan tensions that reflects warming political ties between Riyadh and New Delhi.

Having Riyadh onside for the Kashmir issue mutes Pakistan’s attempts to bring international attention to what it calls a human rights violation. A lack of international condemnation effectively legitimises India’s move in Kashmir, which could embolden New Delhi to make further acts of brinkmanship, possibly along the line of control, in the long-term.

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Photo: Robert Ward

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