After talks with Modi, Saudi Crown Prince says terrorism common concern
NEW DELHI: Terrorism and extremism are “common concerns” and Saudi Arabia will extend all cooperation to India and other countries in the region to deal with them, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Wednesday after holding extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While the two leaders in their respective press statements after their meeting did not mention Pakistan, top officials in the Ministry of External Affairs later said Pakistan’s complicity in the Pulwama terror strike was underlined during their parleys where they also condemned the terrorist attack by the Pakistan-based JeM in “strongest” possible terms.
The meeting took place two days after the influential Arab leader concluded a high-profile visit to Islamabad in the backdrop of escalating tension between India and Pakistan in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed by a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber.
In his statement, Modi called the attack a “cruel symbol” of the scourge of terrorism and sought punishment for terrorists and their backers. The Crown Prince, however, did not mention the Pulwama strike in his remarks.
Asserting that a close contact between people of Saudi and India was a “living bridge” for the two countries, Modi also welcomed the Crown Prince’s announcement of potential investment of $100 billion in India in areas like energy, refining, petro-chemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing etc.
Briefing reporters on the Saudi Crown Prince’s visit and issues discussed during his meeting with Modi, T S Tirumurti, Secretary (ER) in Ministry of External Affairs said they also underlined the importance of comprehensive sanctioning of not just terror organisations but also terrorists by the United Nations, in an apparent reference to New Delhi’s demand for JeM head Masood Azhar’s listing by the global body.
The reference to the listing issue assumes significance as in a joint statement, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Monday called for avoiding “politicization” of the UN listing regime, at a time India is stepping up efforts to brand the Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group’s chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.
Modi and the Crown Prince during their talks also called for concerted action by the international community against terrorism and early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, Tirumurti said.
The Crown Prince said, “As far as terrorism and extremism are concerned – which are common concerns – I want to tell India that we will extend all cooperation to you – be it intelligence sharing…Not only with India but also with countries around us.” “We will work together so that we can ensure a bright future for the generations to come,” he added.