India extends term of its ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Report

November 17th, 2008 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Nov 17 (IANS) India has extended the term of its Ambassador to Saudi Arabia M.O.H. Farook by six months even as that Gulf nation appointed a new envoy to India, according to reports.While Farook has been asked to continue in his post till June next year, Saudi Arabia has named veteran diplomat Faisal Hassan Trad as the replacement for Saleh Al-Ghamdi in New Delhi, who has now been appointed as the new Saudi ambassador to Greece, the Arab News reported.

The newspaper quoted Farook, a veteran politician-turned-diplomat, as saying that he had been asked to continue in his post till after the upcoming general elections in India, scotching rumours that he would be leaving his current assignment Dec 20 to become India’s envoy to the Maldives.

“Only yesterday, I received communication from New Delhi about the extension of my term and I am happy that I have a few more months to serve the Indian pilgrims in particular and the huge Indian diaspora living in this country in general,” he was quoted as saying.

Farook was appointed India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia in September 2004.

Trad, till now Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Japan, will take up his New Delhi post in the “near future”, the newspaper reported quoting a source in that Gulf nation’s foreign ministry.

Incumbent Al-Ghamdi has already presented his credentials in Greece.

Prior to Japan, Trad, 54, has served in several key posts in the foreign ministry apart from serving as the Saudi ambassador to the Arab League in Cairo.

His appointment is being seen as a key move by Saudi Arabia to sustain the growing Saudi-India relations following King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s visit to New Delhi in January 2006, which saw the signing of the ‘Delhi Declaration’.

The declaration called for a viable partnership between the two countries in the energy sector, increased volume of crude supplies to India, and cooperative and joint ventures in up and down stream oil and gas sectors, both in India and Saudi Arabia.

In April this year, Minister for External Affairs Pranab Mukherjee visited Riyadh during the course of which he made a strong pitch for Saudi investment in India’s infrastructure sector.

India is Saudi Arabia’s fifth largest trading partner.

Saudi Arabia is also home to around 1.56 million expatriate Indians who send home around $3 billion annually as remittances.

Ties between India and Saudi Arabia as also other Gulf nations have assumed additional importance because of the ongoing global financial crisis sparked by the credit crunch in the West.

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