Millennium Post

With King Abdullah’s death, India loses a ‘great friend’

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah was a “great friend” of India, a country he once called his second home, as it was under his rule that the foundation for the bilateral strategic partnership was laid and ties gained momentum.

King Abdullah, 90, passed away today and was succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother Salman as the new ruler. “During King Abdullah’s rule, the foundation for the India-Saudi Arabia strategic partnership was laid and bilateral ties gained momentum as reflected in the Delhi Declaration (2006) and Riyadh Declaration (2010),” India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hamid Ali Rao said.

“He (King Abdullah) was a great friend of India,” he said. King Abdullah became the crown prince and the first deputy prime minister in 1982 when King Fahd succeeded King Khalid. He succeeded to the throne in August 2005 following the death of King Fahd.

He made a historic visit to India in January 2006 as the Chief Guest of Republic Day celebrations and the trip opened a new chapter in the Indo-Saudi bilateral relations. King Abdullah was the first Saudi king to visit India in 51 years. During the visit, King Abdullah referred to India as his “second home” and signed the ‘Delhi Declaration’, the first such bilateral document ever inked by a Saudi King which provided a comprehensive road map for bilateral relations.

The reciprocal visit by the then PM Manmohan Singh to Saudi Arabia in 2010 raised the level of bilateral engagement to ‘strategic partnership’ and the ‘Riyadh Declaration’ signed during the trip captured the spirit of enhanced cooperation in the realms of politics, economy, security and defence.


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