Jeddah: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday ended his four-day visit to Saudi Arabia during which he held talks with the top leadership on a number of issues including the controversial 'Nitaqat' law. (Agencies)
Khurshid, who had arrived here on Friday, had a busy schedule with back to back meetings with Saudi officials. He held a marathon meeting of nearly three hours with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud Al-Faisal.
In a significant development, India and Saudi Arabia have decided to further strengthen and deepen their counter- terrorism cooperation, nearly a year after Riyadh deported Abu Jundal, wanted in the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attack. The counter-terrorism issue is emerging as a key area of cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia.
Riyadh is concerned about the rise of extremism in the region, including in Pakistan, notwithstanding their close ties. "We discussed the menace of terrorism the world continues to face and agreed to further strengthen our counter-terrorism cooperation which is an essential element of the Riyadh Declaration we signed in 2010," Khurshid said.
Saudi Foreign Minister also tried to allay India's fears over the Nitaqat law and said the "procedures" taken are in the "best interest of Indian workers". The Nitaqat law and the ongoing drive to identify workers who are overstaying in the Arab Kingdom was one of the main area of focus during the talks held between the two leaders.
Khurshid also called on the Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and handed over a personal letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the Saudi King. Khurshid's visit is the first by an Indian External Affairs Minister in the last five years to Saudi Arabia, India's biggest supplier of oil. In 2008, then Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee had visited the Gulf Kingdom.
Jeddah: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday ended his four-day visit to Saudi Arabia during which he held talks with the top leadership on a number of issues including the controversial 'Nitaqat' law.