India, Saudi Arabia to deepen counter-terror cooperation
Talks on Nitaqat Law and trade also on cards I would like to praise the productive, constructive cooperation between our two countries in the fight...
Talks on Nitaqat Law and trade also on cards I would like to praise the productive, constructive cooperation between our two countries in the fight against terrorism, which will undoubtedly contribute to the international efforts to fight this disease and root it out Jeddah (PTI): 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 in 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," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Saturday after a marathon meeting with his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud Al-Faisal. "Our cooperation would not only benefit our two countries but also contribute significantly to the stability and security of the entire region and beyond," he said after the meeting which lasted nearly three hours. On his part, Saudi Foreign Minister said, "I would like to praise the productive, constructive cooperation between our two countries in the fight against terrorism, which will undoubtedly contribute to the international efforts to fight this disease and root it out." Official sources said that counter-terrorism cooperation and security are one of the major areas of cooperation that has grown since 2006. According to sources in security agencies, despite some people feeling otherwise, Saudi Arabia is equally concerned about the rise of extremism and terrorism. The relations between India and Saudi Arabia, which has a very close ties with Pakistan, has seen an upswing in areas of trade, economy, political exchange and security. Last year, the Saudi government had helped India apprehend two key terror suspects, including Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal. Sources said that the counter-terrorism cooperation has seen a steady rise in the last eight years with regular exchange of information and meetings with both internal and external security agencies of both countries. Sources said one of the major turning point was the visit of Saudi King Abdullah to New Delhi in January 2006. The 'Delhi Declaration' that was signed between the two countries during the visit stressed that terrorism was a 'scourge" that "the governments would closely and actively cooperate" to fight it and other transitional crimes like money laundering, drugs and arms trade among others. Even the 'Riyadh Declaration' signed in 2010 during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the country emphasised on cooperation in exchange of information on terrorism. Asked why there has been a fast-paced positive relationship that Saudi Arabia has with India on anti-terror issues, a source said, "A lot has to do with the internal dynamics of the country as well as geo-politics. Apart from Pakistan, everyone else seems to be on the same page."