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What PM Modi Wishes to Achieve by Visiting Muslim Countries

PM Modi’s Saudi visit gives him an opportunity to connect with the Muslim society among other diplomatic benefits.

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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam

Every international trip undertaken by PM Modi is important, but his visit to Saudi Arabia is rather special – he aims to hit two birds with one stone.

The keywords here being Future and Strategic.

Let’s try to understand what the big messages and big outcomes are. The first is that India’s relations with West Asia are reaching new heights complemented by India now entering a strategic partnership with Saudia Arabia. This partnership will give a huge boost to sectors like energy, security, infrastructure and small businesses. PM Modi even attended a special Saudi government forum – The Future Investment Initiative Forum in Riyadh. He even gave a keynote speech there.

Pakistan is Isolated, A Lesson for Turkey

The second highlight was that Pakistan was not invited to this forum – call it India’s diplomatic success. Saudi, despite being a friend of Pakistan, chooses to remain neutral between the two neighbouring countries.

In a joint statement issued by Saudi Arabia and India, both despised the interference in internal affairs in any country. When India abrogated Article 370 in Kashmir the Saudis did not give a negative response but said that they understand India’s approach.

Isolating Pakistan in almost the entire Muslim world and aiding in the fight against terrorism are seen as huge diplomatic successes for the Modi government.

Although Turkey was not a focus in this journey, it is a known fact that Saudi-Turkey relations are sour.

When Turkey criticised the action in Kashmir, India decided that Turkey should be taught a lesson.

During the visit, India mentioned that both countries are in a similar situation when it comes to neighbours. There have been reports that India is preparing for some kind of action against Turkey. India also issued a travel advisory to Turkey.

Strengthening India’s Relationship With The Muslim World

India’s relationship with Muslim countries have always been good, but now it is getting better. The Modi government’s approach is to not get caught up in the confrontation between West Asian countries and establish independent and bilateral relations. This is why India is comfortable dealing with both Israel and Palestine.

Despite differences between Saudi and Iran, India’s relationship with the latter is in a good place.

How Did India Benefit From The Saudi Trip?

During his Saudi visit, PM Modi talked about investment opportunities in India. However, he also focused on something new this time – trade relations and ease of manpower.

  • About 3 million Indians work in Saudi Arabia.
  • India imports 18% of its total oil requirement from Saudi Arabia.
  • Business between India and Saudi Arabia stands at 27 billion dollars.
  • PM Modi also announced a partnership between Aramco and Reliance. Aramco is all set to buy a 20% stake in Reliance.

Saudi has already said that they will be investing 100 billion dollars in India. On the other hand, PM Modi has announced that he will be investing 100 billion dollars in energy infrastructure. Saudi Arabia needs help from India in terms of technology and defence. Both countries are also set to conduct naval exercises soon.

The word of India’s closeness with West Asian countries have reached the masses in India giving PM Modi a way to reach out to Indian Muslims from an international stage. So just like how Barack Obama and Donald Trump declare their closeness to His Excellence King Salman and His Highness Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, PM Modi too does that effortlessly.

America and China’s friendship is in its own place. But in the midst of a struggling Europe, bolstering India’s relationship with West Asian countries was an urgent task. But the pace was slow. It has to be futuristic and strategic. This visit will probably speed it up.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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