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PM Modi hold delegation-level talks with Saudi King Salman

Riyadh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation-level talks with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud here on Sunday in a move to cement new momentum in bilateral ties between both sides and expand cooperation in diverse areas including trade, investment and counter-terrorism.

“Examining the full spread of a Strategic Partnership. PM and the King lead delegation levels talks,” tweeted Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

Prior to the delegation-level- talks, Prime Minister Modi had restricted talks with King Salman.

“The warmth of an age-old friendship, the making of a modern p’ship. PM and King Salman hold restricted talks,” tweeted Swarup.

Prime Minister Modi gifted the Saudi King a gold-plated replica of the Cheraman Juma Masjid in Kerala.

“Cheraman Juma Masjid is symbolic of active trade relations between India and Saudi Arabia since ancient times,” Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted.

“According to oral tradition, Cheraman Perumal was the Chera King & a contemporary of the Holy Prophet. Cheraman Perumal went to Arabia and embraced Islam after meeting the Holy Prophet at Mecca. The mosque has an ancient oil lamp that is always kept burning and believed to be over a thousand years old. People from all religions bring oil for the lamp as an offering,” the PMO said in a series of tweets.

He was earlier given a royal reception and was welcomed by King Salman at the palace.

“A truly Royal welcome. PM @narendramodi is welcomed by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Palace,” said Swarup.

Prime Minister Modi met Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Health Minister Khalid A Al-Falih here and discussed issues of mutual interest.

The visiting Prime Minister Modi earlier in the day met the Saudi women IT professionals at the first-of-its-kind all-women TCS training centre.

He also attended a round table conference with top business leaders at the Saudi Chambers of Commerce here.

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Modi said his government has taken several policy initiatives to spur growth and progress in India, and assured the business leaders that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill would be passed soon.

Prime Minister Modi will later in the day meet Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. (ANI)