Hello bhaijaan: Admire PM Narendra Modi, he is my older brother, says Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke of his admiration for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and described him as an older brother during conversations at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Wednesday.
The prime minister personally welcomed Crown Prince Salman to India as he arrived in New Delhi last night, and joined President Ram Nath Kovind in greeting him this morning during a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhavan, where the Saudi leader inspected a guard of honour.
"I admire PM Modi," Mohammad bin Salman said at Rashtrapati Bhavan, describing the prime minister as "the elder brother" and himself as "his younger brother".
In a brief statement, he said Indians had helped build Saudi Arabia for 70 years and were seen in the kingdom as friends. "Today we want to be sure that this relation is maintained and improved for the sake of both countries," he said.
Crown Prince Salman and PM Modi will hold extensive talks on Wednesday, during which India is likely to strongly raise the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. Forty CRPF soldiers were martyred last week in a suicide attack carried out by the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama.
Mohammed bin Salman recently wrapped up a visit to Pakistan, and his trips to the two South Asian neighbours are part of a larger tour of the region.
According to a BBC report, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said this week his country would "try to de-escalate tensions" between India and Pakistan and "see if there is a path forward to resolving those differences peacefully".
New Delhi is expecting the Saudi Crown Prince to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund to help accelerate the building of ports and highways, an Indian official and Saudi state media have said.
Saudi Arabia is India's top supplier of crude oil, but the two countries have expanded ties beyond energy and their governments have agreed to build a strategic partnership, India's Ministry of External Affairs has said.
Inputs from Rahul Shrivastava and agencies