Saudi Crown Prince arrives in India amid row with Pakistan

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is hugged by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, back to camera, as he receives him at the airport in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb.19, 2019. Prince Mohammed arrived in India after visiting Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for a suicide bombing attack last week that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is hugged by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, back to camera, as he receives him at the airport in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb.19, 2019. Prince Mohammed arrived in India after visiting Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for a suicide bombing attack last week that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, center right, is received by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, center left, at the airport in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb.19, 2019. Prince Mohammed arrived in India after visiting Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for a suicide bombing attack last week that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is received by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi,back to camera, at the airport in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb.19, 2019. Prince Mohammed arrived in India after visiting Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for a suicide bombing attack last week that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

NEW DELHI — Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in India on Tuesday after visiting Pakistan, which New Delhi blames for a suicide bombing last week that killed at least 40 Indian soldiers in disputed Kashmir.

The crown prince was welcomed at the airport by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who embraced him in a characteristic bear hug.

Prince Mohammed is expected to make an effort to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan as New Delhi weighs its response to last Thursday's attack.

Tensions between the countries have soared since the attack, in which a militant rammed an explosive-laden van into a paramilitary bus in Kashmir. It was the worst attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir's history. India has threatened a "jaw-breaking response."

Ties between India and Saudi Arabia, where millions of Indians are employed as migrant workers, have strengthened since Modi visited Riyadh in 2016 for the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with intelligence-gathering on money laundering and terrorism financing.

Other agreements are expected to be signed Wednesday in investment, tourism, housing and communications.

The two countries' two-way trade totaled $27.5 billion last year.

India describes Saudi Arabia as a "key pillar" of its energy security. It provides about 17 percent of India's crude oil and about a third of its liquefied natural gas.

The relationship may be more key as a deadline nears for India to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran, India's largest oil provider.

"The only positive part of this is to strengthen the relationship with Saudi Arabia to make up the oil deficit with Iran," said Prem Shankar Jha, an economist and writer in New Delhi. "That is the only rational part I see" in the visit, he said.

The crown prince has a delicate balance to strike during his Asia tour, which will also take him to China.

In Islamabad, two government officials said Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the issue of increasing tension with India during his talks with the prince. They said the prince was expected to encourage Indian leaders as well during his visit to New Delhi to try to resolve all issues through talks.

The Pakistani officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to talk to the media.

The trip comes five months after the crown prince came under intense pressure following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

In keeping with a long-standing policy of not commenting on countries' internal affairs, India declined to take a position on the Washington Post columnist's killing by Saudi agents at the consulate.

Cash-strapped Islamabad voiced support for the prince amid an international outcry, and gave a warm welcome this week. The Saudi Arabian delegation signed $20 billion in investment deals and vowed to free thousands of Pakistani prisoners in Saudi custody.

___

Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

People also read these

New boy muppet in Afghanistan promotes gender...

Jul 15, 2017

A new muppet is joining the cast of Afghanistan's version of "Sesame Street: Zeerak, who will show...

Pentagon: 2 US service members killed in...

Aug 2, 2017

Pentagon spokesman says suicide bombing attack on a NATO convoy in southern Afghanistan has left...

Kabul catwalk: Afghan models show off traditional...

Aug 17, 2017

Amid tight security, Afghan models promote traditional clothing of country's ethnic groups in rare...

Trump will address path forward on Afghanistan

Aug 20, 2017

White House announces that President Donald Trump would address the nation's troops and the...

US historian who spent decades in Afghanistan...

Sep 10, 2017

An American historian who spent decades in Afghanistan working to preserve the heritage of the...

About Us

Get all the up-to-date breaking news about politics, business, entertainment, sports, lifestyles, weather, traffic, and local news in a seamless digital environment only in Morning Dispatcher.

Contact us: sales[at]morningdispatcher.com

Subscribe Now!

Quick Links

HomePress