Modi in Saudi: What did the PM do?
PM Modi met business leaders at Saudi Chambers of Commerce in Riyadh. He attended round table conferences in Riyadh, Saudi Commerce Minister, 30 Saudi CEOs and Indian business leaders. He met the Head of Saudi Aramco, where the latter said that his company looks to India as its Number One target for investment. Both the countries agreed on cooperation in exchange of intelligence related to money laundering, related crimes and terrorism financing. A number of trade agreements and MoUs were signed between the two countries.
Apart from the ‘regular’ stuff Modi addressed the Indian Diaspora in Saudi Arabia. He met with Indian workers in a L&T Facility and shared meal with them. He also met the first-of-its-kind all-women IT training centre of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), where hijab-clad women vied for a chance to click a selfie with Modi. Modi also gifted Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz a gold-plated replica of Kerala’s Cheraman Juma Masjid, believed to be the first mosque built in India by Arab traders around 629 AD.
In return King Salman bin Abdulaziz accepted Modi’s invitation to visit India and discuss further possibilities to strengthen trade ties with India. Saudi Arabia also conferred its highest civilian award upon Modi.
Modi in Saudi: What makes Saudi Arabia so special?
Saudi Arabia has been India’s biggest source of energy, a hub of jobs for Indians and of course is the holiest seat for tens of millions of Indians.
Although, The Modi in Saudi Agenda is about building a stronger tie between the two nations, India will also be keen on gaining Saudi support for its Pakistan Policy like Modi did in his visit to the UAE.
Modi in Saudi: Is there more to it?
Modi’s secularism has always been viewed with suspicion in India, no matter how hard he tries reaching to the Muslim Community in India, he is always dismissed as a charlatan. Recently his brief pause in one of his election rallies while an Azaan was being performed was rejected as theatricality.
Modi in Saudi episode can strengthen Modi’s secular credentials considerably.
Saudi Arabia is the birth place of Islam and it was from Saudi Arabia that it spread to the whole world. The Arabs traveled wide and far to propagate Islam. It took centuries to reach many parts of the world. Saudi Arabia is also the “land of Haramayn” traditional Islamic appellation of the two holy cities of Islam, Mecca and Medina. It is also a destination for over 400,000 Indians who go to the country for Hajj every year. These are the reasons why Muslims across the globe look up to the Arab world for guidance and leadership.
The liberal cabal of India which thrives on negative publicity and routine demonization of Modi is frustrated with his ever rising stature anyway and Modi in Saudi is an episode that has grown too big on them. Because it threats to snatch the very masses, they claim to be a representative of. Saudi Arabia’s open endorsement of PM Modi is as much a threat to Pakistan as it is to the liberals in India.