Crown prince award 'will build Saudi-Sino cultural bridges'

"In recent years, the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Saudi Arabia has maintained a sound momentum of development with deepening political mutual trust and fruitful practical cooperation in such areas as energy, infrastructure and space satellite", said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang.

He also sought to allay India's fears about Pakistan-Saudi joint statement calling for avoiding "politicisation" of the United Nations listing regime, saying it was not directed at India's efforts to list Jaish chief Masood Azhar as a "global terrorist". "Both sides agreed on the need for creation of conditions necessary for resumption of the comprehensive dialogue", the MEA further said. The two leaders "agreed" to put pressure on countries providing support to terrorism in any form, PM Modi said after holding delegation-level talks with Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS).

He also informed that India is looking to invest in Saudi Arabia.

Significantly, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir clarified in an interview to news agency PTI that his country will not involve itself "intensions between India and Pakistan without being invited by both the countries". "When Govt of India acknowledges the need to create suitable conditions for dialogue & that too in a statement with a 3rd country this is suddenly the height of patriotism & nationalism", he added. "We plan to diversify our investments in petrochemicals and other sectors", he said.

A lawmaker from India's main opposition Congress party criticised Modi's "hugplomacy" because of the prince's investment pledges in Pakistan and praise for Islamabad's anti-terrorism activities. We will cooperate with you (India) in all possible ways including intelligence sharing to counter terrorism.

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Reports suggest that the properties will be maintained under the company's franchise model with full inventory control similar to its markets like India and China.

'Horrible situation' US President Donald Trump has described as "horrible" the terror attack by Pakistanbased Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama, as his administration asked Islamabad to punish anyone responsible for the "heinous act".

The crown prince said he hoped the investment opportunities for his country in India could exceed $100bn over the next two years, without giving any details.

He also said that no mediation was offered by the Saudi authorities.

Saudi Arabia made a decision to increase haj quota from India to two lakh from the present 1.75 lakh and release 850 Indian prisoners. His visit to India highlights the Saudi kingdom's pivot eastward, seeking increased economic and diplomatic ties with Asia after rebukes in the West over Saudi warfare in Yemen and the killing of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. "India has played a positive role", the Crown Prince said while addressing a joint press conference.

  • Sonia Alvarado