Sushma Swaraj arrives in Riyadh for 3-day visit, to inaugurate Janadriyah festival today

Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj arrived in Riyadh on her maiden visit to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday during which she will inaugurate the Janadriyah festival of the Gulf Kingdom, which is home to over three million Indians.

During the three-day visit, Swaraj will meet with the Saudi leadership and discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

After her arrival, Swaraj in her first engagement addressed Indian community members at a reception in Riyadh, and spoke about the relations between the two countries.

“EAM spoke in length the growing relations between the two countries,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said. Swaraj thanked the Indian community for the good will it has earned for the country and lauded the Indian embassy for its promptness.

“EAM praised the Indian Embassy for responding to the Indian Community promptly,” he said in a tweet.

During her visit, Swaraj will also participate at the inauguration of the prestigious National Heritage and Culture Festival ‘Janadriyah’, at which India is the guest of honour country.

Swaraj will inaugurate the Janadriyah festival on Wednesday.

The festival, organised by the National Guard, exhibits Saudi Arabia’s rich tapestry of culture and heritage.

“Warm welcome reflecting our relationship! EAM @SushmaSwaraj received by Saudi officials and Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed on her arrival at Riyadh airport. Saudi Arabia is India’s valued strategic partner,” Kumar said in a tweet earlier.

Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh had earlier said that 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.

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 especially after the landmark visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Gulf Kingdom in April 2016.

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.

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The volume of bilateral trade during 2016-17 was recorded at $25.079 billion, a slight decrease from the $26.71 billion in 2015-16.