Great significance is being attached to the three day visit of Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin-Abdul Aziz's visit to India starting Feb 26 is expected too give a major boost to bilateral ties as the two countries will sign various agreements in defence, trade and investment, and energy sectors.
Prince Salman, 79, is the second important person in the oil-rich kingdom after King Abdullah and is also the Arab kingdom's first deputy prime minister and defence minister. Crown Prince Salman will be accompanied by a high-level delegation and a large contingent of businessmen to explore possibilities of investing in tourism, oil and gas exploration and infrastructure fields.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram recently visited the Kingdom and extended an invitation to Prince Sultan to visit India, which was immediately accepted.
During his visit, Prince Salman will hold wide-ranging talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other Indian leaders on expanding bilateral cooperation, besides on many international issues like developments in Afghanistan, and the situation in Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
He will also meet President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, besides other leaders. This is his second visit to India after becoming crown prince.
During the visit, India and Saudi Arabia are also expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on defence, which envisages exchange of defence-related information, and training and cooperation in areas varying from hydrocarbons and security to its logistics.
The two countries are also eager to work together in curbing money laundering and drug trafficking. Indo-Saudi bilateral trade exceeded $43.19 billion in 2012-13. There are more than 2.5 million Indian expatriates in Saudi Arabia who contribute immensely to the socio-economic development of the oil-rich kingdom.