Saudi King apprises Modi on counter-terrorism coalition

Saudi King apprises Modi on counter-terrorism coalition

Saudi King apprises Modi on counter-terrorism coalition

King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi about Saudi Arabia's initiative in bringing together 34 Muslim countries to form a powerful Islamic military coalition to combat the scourge of terrorism as the two leaders resolved to enhance counter- terror cooperation.

In the talks yesterday at the at the Al-Yamamah Palace here yesterday, the King also appreciated India's interest in the Gulf as well as its keenness in supporting its stability of the countries in the region.

The King briefed the Prime Minister about Saudi Arabia's initiative to form a coalition to contain terrorism, Saudi officials said.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia, a country known as spiritual home of Islam, has recently formed a major coalition of 34 Muslim nations to fight terror, particularly the ISIS.

The formation of the coalition comes amid criticism that Arab countries are not doing enough to contain rise of ISIS in the region.

The coalition includes nations with large and established armies such as Pakistan, Turkey and Egypt as well as war-torn countries with embattled militaries such as Libya and Yemen.

Other members are Saudi Arabia's five partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council, as well as Jordan, Nigeria, Egypt, Chad, Mali, Malaysia, Morocco, Senegal, Somalia and Tunisia.

Saudi Arabia's regional rival, Iran, is not part of the coalition. Iraq and Syria whose forces are battling the Islamic State terror group are also not in the coalition.

India and Saudi Arabia, a major ally of Pakistan, also decided to ramp up their counter-terrorism cooperation and asked all states to dismantle terror infrastructures where they exist while rejecting use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy.

The strong views by Saudi Arabia, known as spiritual home of Islam and one of the most influential country in the Gulf region, is seen as an unprecedented political endorsement of New Delhi's concerns about terrorism, extremism and radicalisation.

The two countries also signed an agreement in sharing intelligence related to money laundering and terror financing.

"We also stress the importance of continued cooperation and coordination with the government of your country in the field of counter-terrorism," the Saudi Foreign Ministry quoted the King as saying.

He further said, "We are confident that our discussions will enhance our relationship and cooperation in various fields in order to achieve the strategic partnership between our two countries to serve the common interests."  

Besides extensive deliberations on combating terrorism, the talks focused on ways to expand strategic cooperation in a range of areas such as trade and investment, particularly in the oil sector.

Reflecting growing congruence in ties, the two sides also decided to ramp up defence cooperation including in maritime sphere and agreed to expand engagement in energy and infrastructure sector.

In the talks, the two leaders also rejected totally any attempt to link terrorism to any particular race, religion or culture as they agreed to promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention of use of cyber space for terrorism and radicalisation.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's media covered Modi's visit extensively.

Its national daily Arab News had published a six-paged supplement on April 2, the day Modi arrived here, featuring articles relating to India-Saudi ties in diverse fields.

"King-Modi talks boost strategic partnership," said its headline on the front page about talks between the two leaders.

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