Hind Once Again The Guiding Star For Arabia
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has just concluded his Asian trip as part of LOOK EAST POLICY. Saudi Arabia had issued a Vision Plan 2030 way back in 2016 itself.
The policy envisages development of non-petroleum sectors such as clean energy, infrastructure and high technology. Currently, 70 percent of its oil is sold in Asia who are its biggest energy buyers and sources of commodity imports.
India and to some extent China will be the two the most important economic partners for Saudi Arabia in this transition from just an oil-exporting country to a diversified economy.
As the World’s biggest oil exporter Saudi Arabia highly dependent on petrodollars, making it vulnerable to drastic fluctuations in international oil price.
Due to the sharp reduction in oil price in 2014, Saudi’s fiscal to about $130 billion in 2015 increased to $ 130 billion around 19.5 % of its GDP.
Therefore Saudi Arabia decided to strengthen its ties with India in general and PM Narendra Modi’s Government in particular.
Last year it went out of its way to grant overhead fight route to Air India for a New Delhi – Tel Aviv direct flight, an unheard of a development.
Next it granted a sort of an amnesty to Indians staying and working in Saudi Arabia without proper documents. Enough time was granted to them to get their papers right.
Now the Crown Prince has announced a planned investment of over Rs 70000 crores in joint projects in India which will immensely benefit Saudi Arabia.
It is mostly due to Saudi and UAE efforts that now India, a country with the second largest Muslim population in the World has been invited to the OIC conference as a Guest of Honour.
The Saudi ties with USA had started weakening during Obama’s rule but got revived when US President Donald Trump took office.
In May 2017, Saudi Arabia boosted the alliance with US by signing an arms contract worth $110 billion during Trump’s official visit to Riyadh – his first after he took office.
However, with the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khasoggi in 2018, Western countries started troubling and annoying Riyadh and even started accusing the Crown Prince himself for the murder.
The US Congress and CIA kept accusing the Saudi government of having a hand in orchestrating the killing of the US-based Washington Post columnist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The US House of Representatives recently decided to halt aid for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.
Now no self respecting country will accept this kind of nonsense, especially from USA whose President us empowered by the US congress to routinely orders elimination by CIA / Special Forces of perceived terrorists etc or carry out Regime Changes.
Thus Saudi Arabia’s efforts to strengthen relations with India can effectively relieve its isolated status by the West and improve its international image.
Riyadh can also stabilize its economy and restore its influence in the Middle East and overcome diplomatic and security dilemmas.
All this has created conditions for India to play a constructive role in Middle East affairs. Stronger Indo -Saudi Arabia ties will certainly help Riyadh enhance its economic and diplomatic prospects, and stabilize the complicated situation in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia’s strengthened economic and diplomatic ties with China will be of paramount importance in achieving the above goals.
Since China’s launch of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013 and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Saudi in 2016 and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s visit to China in 2017, the BRI has continuously been linked with Vision 2030 of Saudi Arabia. China has been Saudi Arabia’s biggest trade partner for eight consecutive years.
The highlight of the crown prince’s Asia visit was a $20 billion investment in the flagship project – China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the construction of Gwadar Port, besides in oil refining, petroleum, chemical, and power sectors.