FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Saudi Arabia seeks stability in Middle East; India a strategic partner
Posted:Sep 29, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Sati
 
September 23 marked the 87th anniversary of the National Day of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This auspicious occasion not just celebrates the historic unification of the Kingdom but also invokes within every Saudi citizen a sense of immense pride in its historical and cultural legacy.
 
Our journey on the path of progress has continued over the last nine decades, making great strides in every domain. Our country is amongst the 20 largest economies in the world and we aim to improve our ranking by 2030. Currently, Saudi Arabia ranks an impressive 38 on the United Nations Development Program's (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI).
 
We are further strengthening our investments efficiently to make our health, education, transportation and social services infrastructures even more robust and foster more progress and growth. To enable this growth and to build a thriving country, Crown Prince Mohammad bin
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud chalked out Vision 2030 around three fundamental themes - a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation. We are in relentless pursuit of the vision to make our country a pioneering and successful global model of excellence on all fronts.
 
We are transforming our education system to equip students with multi-faceted knowledge and values that help their individual characters emerge and flourish. To demonstrate our commitment to education, our country sanctioned 200 billion riyals in 2016 for the development and expansion of education -- the highest annual allocation after healthcare. By 2030, we aim to have at least five Saudi universities among the top 200 universities in international rankings.
 
We are diversifying and unleashing the capabilities of promising sectors to create the new pillars of the Saudi economy. Our National Renewable Energy Program is all set to increase the share of renewables in the power mix from almost 0 to 4 per cent by generating 9.5 GW by 2023. Our endeavor includes privatising some stateowned assets and government services; developing tourism by creating attractions of the highest international standards; investing in a digital economy; incentivising the exploration of the Kingdom's mineral resources; and doubling our gas
production.
 
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud views the citizens of the Kingdom as its most important asset. Vision 2030 strives to create a prosperous society wherein people enjoy a good life in a beautiful environment. The Red Sea luxury resorts project will be a milestone in this direction. Spread across 50 natural islands along 200 km of western coastline of Saudi Arabia, the project will place the Kingdom on the international tourism map. Apart from historical and cultural excursions, both on land and in the sea, it will offer opportunities for diving, parachuting, rock climbing etc. The project is estimated to host one million visitors per annum by 2035, adding SAR 15 billion (Rs 25,905 crore) per annum to the Kingdom's GDP. The newly mapped area will be run at par with international standards, including ecological best practices.
 
As the cradle of Islam, the Kingdom takes great pride in serving the Two Holy Mosques. This year more than two million pilgrims performed Haj. The number of Umrah visitors tripled to eight million over the last decade. We are working with the strategic objective of providing the
opportunity for the largest number of Muslims possible to perform Haj and Umrah. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud launched in 2015 the third phase of expansion of the Grand Mosque which will cover 1.47 million square meters, including 78 new gates, six new floors for praying, 680 new escalators, 24 elevators for people with special needs.
 
Several transit projects have been sanctioned to elevate the existing facilities. The airports are being modernised and their capacities are being augmented. The Makkah Metro project, has been conceived to complement the rail services to transport visitors safely to the Holy Sites. Saudi Railways Commission recently completed the maiden test run of the Haramain highspeed rail line from Jeddah to Madinah. The 450-km network connecting the two holy cities is slated to attain speeds of up to 360 kmph, reducing the travel time between the two to less than two hours.
 
Political and economic stability in the Middle East and around the world is one of Saudi Arabia's greatest priorities. My country has been recognized for its efforts over the years to maintain peace and stability in the region. From the King Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud plan of 1981 and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud initiative of 2002, the Taif agreement of 1989 that ended the Lebanese civil war, to the 2007 Makkah agreement of reconciliation between the factions of Fatah and Hamas - we have primarily worked on mediation and conciliation to resolve issues and work towards the peace, stability, noninterference and prosperity of the region.
 
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has demonstrated its abiding belief in spreading goodwill and compassion beyond its borders by being at the forefront of the international community in terms of share of gross domestic product (GDP) earmarked for humanitarian aid. The King Salman
Centre for Humanitarian Aid and Relief (KSRelief), since it was established in 2015, has provided humanitarian and development aid to more than 37 countries in four continents, implementing 218 projects in areas of food security, housing and shelter, preventative health care and education. Just recently and through the Center, the Kingdom donated $33.7 million to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to combat cholera in Yemen, followed by a donation of $33 million to United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) at the end of July 2017.
 
It has been a great honour for me to serve as the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the Republic of India. India is a strategic partner in our journey of progress. We share deep-rooted bilateral ties that have been nourished through growing economic partnership, multi-faceted cooperation and vibrant people to people connection. The historical ties of friendship between the two countries will continue to grow and thrive through partnership and cooperation.
 
(The author is Saudi Ambassador to India)
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Thailand will be the coordinating country for India within ASEAN from July. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, the fortnightly journal of the Society for Policy Studies (SPS),  Thailand’s Ambassador to India, Chutintorn Gongsakdi, gave a comprehensive view of bilateral relations and
 
read-more
The struggle for autonomy has been going on within the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) from their inception, writes P.D. Rai
 
read-more
As India and the 10-nation ASEAN bloc culminate the commemoration of 25 years of their dialogue partnership with a summit in New Delhi January 25 that all the leaders will attend, India is laying out the crimson carpet to ensure that the first ever Republic Day celebrations at which 10 ASEAN leaders will be Chief Guests, jointly, is a
 
read-more
Afghanistan's leaders have asked the Security Council to mobilise international pressure on Pakistan to stop supporting terrorists, United States Permanent Representative said on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters here after the Council's weekend visit to Afghanistan and meetings with the nation's leaders, Haley said, &l
 
read-more
As the Myanmar government’s violent policy towards its Rohingya Muslims drew increasing international condemnation in 2016, the country’s sometime icon of democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi, declined to speak out for the persecuted minority.
 
read-more
“We have a very solid commitment to climate action,” he said. “We cannot be defeated by climate change and we are not yet winning this battle” and the biggest victims of climate change are the developing countries that are members of the Group of 77 (G77).
 
read-more
In a bid to promote trilateral innovation and business opportunities between the US, India, and Israel, Israel-India Technology Group has launched a trilateral fund of $50 million. "We ar...
 
read-more
Column-image

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has for the first time claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in a new book in written by Taliban leader Abu Mansoor Asim Mufti Noor Wali.

 
Column-image

Title: Salafi-Jihadism -The History of an Idea; Author: Shiraz Maher; Publisher: Penguin Random House UK: Pages: 292; Price: Rs 499

 
Column-image

A Review of Anatomy of Failure by Harlan K. Ullman (Naval Institute Press, 242 pages)

 
Column-image

Title: The Beckoning Isle; Author: Abhay Narayan Sapru; Publisher: Wisdom Tree; Pages: 157; Price: Rs 245

 
Column-image

Title: India Now And In Transition; Editor: Atul Thakur ; Publisher: Niyogi Books: Pages: 448; Price: Rs 599