A day after the visit of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia on Thursday said it has a much better understanding of India’s position on terrorism and Kashmir than ever before, sources privy to the developments told CNBC-TV18.
Officials told CNBC-TV18 that MBS was in full agreement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi that all countries need to renounce the use of terror as a tool of state policy and this was reflected in the joint statement, even though there was no direct reference to Pakistan or the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
Ever since the Uri attack in 2016, the PM Modi has repeatedly termed Pakistan as an exporter of terror in the region and a country which uses terrorism as a tool of state policy.
The Modi government, which launched a campaign to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Pulwama attack has come under fire from the opposition for not being able to convince the Saudi’s on naming Pakistan and JeM in the joint statement.
Questioning the PM Modi's gesture to receive the MBS, the Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, “Why did Modi in his joint statement with a friendly country forget to mention that Maulana Masood Azhar and JeM? Their benefactor, protector and supporter is the Pakistani government, the ISI and the Pakistani Army. Does our PM not have the courage?”
According to multiple people familiar with the development, highlighted that the setting up of a National Security Advisor level Comprehensive Security Dialogue shows a strong intention to increase joint counterterrorism efforts and real-time intelligence sharing.
On the issue of terror the joint statement, sources said, “Both sides called on all states to reject the use of terrorism against other countries; dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they happen to exist and to cut off any kind of support and financing to the terrorists perpetrating terrorism from all territories against other states, and bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice."
Further, officials stressed that the joint statement shows an acknowledgement of India’s position that resumption of comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan could only happen in a conducive atmosphere.
Sources also added that it would be wrong to compare the optics of the Crown Prince’s visit to India with his visit to Pakistan, “Crown Prince has attached great importance to the relationship with India and his personal rapport with PM Modi. He referred to the prime minister as an elder brother.”
MBS during his visit earmarked $100 billion in investment in India. A source closely involved with the visit said, “The Saudi Crown Prince said India could be the centre for his country’s investments in the region especially in petroleum and downstream projects.”Energy, refining, petrochemicals, fertilisers, minerals, logistics, food, technology and infrastructure are some of the areas that have been identified by the two countries for cooperation.