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India and Saudi Arabia discuss Afghanistan and Indo-Pacific developments

A file image of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan (Photo courtesy: MEA)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met visiting Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Sunday and exchanged views on Afghanistan, the Gulf and the swiftly changing situation in the Indo-Pacific.

During his three-day visit, Al Saud will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday, after which he will leave for New York where the UN General Assembly is in progress.

In a tweet, Jaishankar said: "A cordial and productive meeting with Saudi FM HH @Faisalbinfarhan. Discussed our cooperation in the political, security and socio-cultural pillars of our strategic partnership. Very useful exchange of views on Afghanistan, the Gulf and the Indo-Pacific."

The meeting assumes importance because of important global developments–the security scenario in Afghanistan and the focus on the Indo-Pacific due to growing Sino-American rivalry.

Besides cementing bilateral ties, Afghanistan will occupy an important place in the agenda due to the unpredictable future that the Taliban government brings for the region, and indeed for the world. Owing to the uncertainty of the Afghan situation, India has been in talking with Afghanistan's neighbours as well as all important global powers.

From the Saudi point of view, developments in Kabul have a bearing on the political dynamics in the Gulf region. The role being played by Afghan neighbour Iran, as well as the dominant position taken by Qatar over Afghan diplomacy impacts Saudi Arabia.

Talking about today's meeting, the MEA said that both nations plan to strengthen partnership in the fields of "trade, investment, energy, defence, security, culture, consular issues, healthcare and human resources".

Under the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ties between New Delhi and Riyadh have improved ties considerably over the past many years. These also relate to matters of defence and security.

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