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Continuing its engagements in the Middle Eastern countries, India’s Finance Minister Arun Jaitley called on Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud at the royal Al-Yamamah palace in Riyadh and discussed the ways to develop and enhance bilateral ties. He conveyed greetings of President Ram Nath Kovind to the King.

Arun Jaitley is on a two day visit to co-chair the 12th India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission meeting. Both sides discussed “bilateral relations and the ways to strengthen them in various fields,” reports official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The Saudi agency further reports that Minister of Finance -Mohammed bin-Abdullah Al-Jadaan, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Nizar bin-Obaid Madani, Minister of Interior, Prince Abdul Aziza,  Minister of State – Dr. Mausaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, Head of Saudi side at Saudi-India Joint Committee- Dr. Majed bin Abdullah,  Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to India- Dr. Saudi bin Mohammed Al-Sati, and , Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia- Ahmed Javed were present during the meeting.

On Sunday, Jaitley along with his counterpart from Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin-Abdullah Al-Jadaan opened the ‘Saudi-Indian Business Council’. He also visited the ‘India Pavilion’ at the Saudi National Heritage and Cultural Festival Janadriyah.

Earlier this month, Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj was Guest of Honor in the opening ceremony of Janadriyah cultural festival.

On Monday, Jaitley will meet Saudi Minister of Trade & Investment, Majid Al-Qassabi to discuss the bilateral issues. He is also likely to meet other high level Saudi dignitaries as well during his visit. He will return home Monday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Saudi Arabia in April 2016 and held detailed meeting with King Salman. Both leaders expressed “appreciation ofr the successful transformation of bilateral relationship in political, economic, security, defence, manpower and people to people exchange in recent yhears, which have enriched bilateral ties.”

Modi was conferred Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian award-The King Abdulaziz Sash by King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Royal Court.

Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trade partner and is a major source of energy as as New Delhi imports around 20% of its crude oil requirement. There are some 41 lakh plus Indians being the “most preferred community due to their expertise, sense of discipline, law abiding and peace loving nature.”

In June last year, Indian expatriates were hit by “dependent fee” of 100 riyals for each family member, which will be increased 100 riyals each year till 2020.

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