Indian PM Modi arrived on his maiden two-day visit to Saudi Arabia. He became the fourth Indian Prime Minister to visit Saudi Arabia after Manmohan Singh in 2010, Indira Gandhi in 1982 and Jawaharlal Nehru in 1956. Indian PM Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Saudia Arabia could unnerve Pakistan as economic and strategic opportunities are bringing India closer to the oil-rich Kingdom.
After years of considering Saudi Arabia as a major ally and economic benefactor, Pakistan may be on the verge of losing its erstwhile patron to archrival India. Modi arrived in Riyadh last week for an official visit – full of diplomatic significance. Modi’s visit and the warm reception he received were the latest reminders to the Pakistani leaders that international relations are based on national interests and not on just religion-based ideology. Economic and strategic issues are bringing India and Saudi Arabia closer.
As the eternal conflict between India and Pakistan has always been there, Saudi Arabia welcomed Modi warmly. And during the visit, King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz conferred the Kingdom’s highest civil award, The King Abdul Aziz Order, on Modi. Despite giving billions of dollars in aid and employing millions of Pakistanis, the Saudis have never bestowed their highest civilian honour on any Pakistani leader.
India and Saudi Arabia have become economically more significant for one another with US$ 39.4 billion in bilateral trade in 2014-15. Pakistan-Saudi trade by contrast stood at a meagre US$ 6.1 billion. The two countries are typically different states on the basis of religion; one is totally Islamic state while the other one is typically a Hindu state, but they are trying to build good relations because for India, Saudi Arabia is the main source of its oil imports, fulfilling one-fifth of India’s annual demand and for Saudis, India is their fifth biggest customer after China, Japan, the US and South Korea.
It is time for Pakistan to build good relationships with other countries and take advantages of economic and strategic opportunities that are making Pakistan a developed and progress country.