Saudi offer to hike crude exports to India

February 14th, 2012 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Riyadh, Feb 14 (IANS) Saudi Arabia has offered to increase its export of crude oil to India. King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud conveyed this to Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, who is on an official visit here to strengthen military ties between the two nations.

Antony met King Abdullah on his arrival Monday evening, ahead of his talks with his Saudi counterpart on defence cooperation. He is on a two-day visit to the Gulf nation.

During the 30-minute meeting, the two leaders expressed satisfaction over the enhanced cooperation in strategic relations, especially in security, defence, economic and political fields, according to Indian defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar, who is accompanying the Indian minister.

“King Abdullah offered all assistance, including additional supply of crude oil, should India require the same. He expressed eagerness to strengthen relations with India,” the spokesperson said.

“King Abdullah fondly remembered the role played by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in India-Saudi Arabia relations. He recalled his visit to India in 2006 when the Delhi Declaration was signed, setting forth the vision for the two countries to cooperate in various fields,” Kar said.

The reciprocal visit by the Indian prime minister to the Saudi kingdom in 2010 raised the level of bilateral engagements to a strategic level.

Kar noted that King Abdullah paid rich tributes to Indian immigrants who have played a key role in enriching the Saudi economy and the social life of Saudi Arabia.

Antony hoped his discussions with Prince Salman and Prince Khalid Tuesday would lead to specific initiatives to deepen defence exchanges.

He said the current situation in the Gulf region was a cause for concern for India. He hoped that the crisis in the region would be resolved through peaceful dialogue.

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