[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap]n an expression of deepening bilateral ties, India and Saudi Arabia on Sunday agreed to further strengthen co-operation in the fight against terror and Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Saudi and Indian businessmen the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is going to be rolled out soon.
Modi was also conferred the King Abdulaziz Sash, together with the Gulf kingdom’s highest civilian honor.
“The two leaders agreed to further strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism, both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system of the UN,” said a joint statement issued after delegation-level talks here directed by Modi and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
Sunday was the second and final day of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the Gulf kingdom. “The two leaders called upon the international community to strengthen multilateral regimes to effectively address the challenges posed by terrorism,” the statement said.
Both leaders totally rejected “any attempt to link this universal phenomenon to any specific race, faith or culture”.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]K[/dropcap]ing Salman and modi called to reject the use of terrorism against other nations where they happen to exist and dismantle terrorism infrastructures.They discussed international and regional issues of mutual interest, including the security situation in Middle East, West Asia and South Asia.
“The two leaders agreed to enhance co-operation to strengthen marine security in the Gulf as well as the Indian Ocean areas, critical for the security and prosperity of both nations,” the joint statement said.
King and modi Salman also agreed to promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention of use of cyber space for terrorism, radicalization and for disturbing social harmony.
In the field of energy co-operation, both leaders agreed to transform the existing buyer-seller relationship to one of deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in petrochemical complexes, and co-operation in joint exploration in India, Saudi Arabia and in third countries, as stated by the statement.
On bilateral trade, Modi and King Salman expressed satisfaction at the $39 billion commerce in 2014 15.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he strong increase shown by the Indian market was also lauded by King Salman and expressed appreciation for Modi’s extraordinary vision for the future of the state. “Do not stress… GST will happen, it’ll be a reality shortly,” he said. Modi is perhaps confident that soon he will have the numbers in Rajya Sabha to pass the GST Bill.
“Retrospective tax is an issue of days gone by. My government will continue to work towards establishment of a foreseeable long-term taxation regime,” he added.
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill, to execute a pan-India tax to get an entire overhaul of the extant indirect tax regime, is approved by the Lok Sabha.
Modi urged the crowd to move beyond the traditional bilateral trading relationship. “Let’s move beyond just the export-import relationship. Joint investment, technology transfers are areas that we should investigate,” Modi said.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]head of the bilateral talks of Sunday, Khalid bib Abdul Aziz Al Falih, Saudi health minister and chairman of Saudi petroleum major Saudi Aramco, said that India was the number one target for investment for his company and met with Modi.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir also called on the Prime Minister.
Five agreements were also signed between both nations, including ones on Labor cooperation and sharing intelligence on terror financing and money laundering.
Modi started his second day in Saudi Arabia by going to the Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) all-girls IT centre here. “I ‘m meeting those professionals who are now the glory of Saudi Arabia,” Modi said after he was welcomed with cheers by girls in the centre. “This atmosphere I’m witnessing here today has got the capacity to provide a powerful message to the whole world.”
In Brussels, he attended the 13th India-European Union (EU) Summit and held a bilateral meeting with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, and then in Washington he participated in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by US President Barack Obama.
This is actually the very first prime ministerial visit from India to the oil-rich Gulf kingdom since the visit of Manmohan Singh in 2010.
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