External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Saudi Arabia from February 6-8 during which she will inaugurate a prestigious festival of the Gulf nation, the external affairs ministry said on Sunday. Swaraj will inaugurate the Janadriyah festival on February 7, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
Addressing a joint press conference with Saudi Minister of National Guard Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz bin Muhammad bin Eyaf al-Muqrin Al-Saud, Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said India's participation in the festival will be multi-faceted.
"We will have an Indian pavilion where we will project a number of Indian themes and projects. The pavilion will comprise glimpses of traditional and modern India," he said.
India has been invited to the festival as a guest country.
"We greatly value our close and deep rooted civilizational and strategic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia...I have no doubt that India's participation in this festival will take our relationship to new heights," Singh said.
Saudi Arabia is home to more than 3 million Indian people and ties between the two countries are on an upswing in the last few years. Saudi Arabia is India's fourth largest trade partner after China, the US and the UAE.
The country is a major source of India's energy requirement as it accounts for almost one-fifth of India's crude oil requirement. The volume of bilateral trade during 2016-17 was recorded at USD 25.079 billion, a slight decrease from the USD 26.71 billion in 2015-16.
While Swaraj will head to Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be on a state visit to Palestine, the UAE, and Oman from February 9-12.
SOURCE : KHALEEJTIMES