The Saudi FM’s visit assumes high significance at the time when the Taliban have formed a government in Afghanistan.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday welcomed his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud who arrived in New Delhi on a maiden three-day visit, beginning from Saturday.

Tweeting about it, the EAM wrote: “Delighted to welcome FM of Saudi Arabia HH Prince @Faisalbin farhan for his first ever visit to India.”

India has been engaged with all leading powers on the developments in Afghanistan following its takeover by the Taliban.

People familiar with the visit said Afghanistan is expected to be a major focus of the talks between Jaishankar and Al Saud.

As a major regional player, Saudi Arabia's position on developments in Afghanistan assumes significance as several countries in the Gulf region including Qatar and Iran were playing a role in the Afghan peace process before the Taliban's capture of power.

In the Gulf region, India has been in touch with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran over the unfolding developments in Afghanistan.

In reflection of India's views on the matter, Prime Minister Modi on Friday said the global community should decide “collectively” and “thoughtfully” on recognition of the new set-up in Afghanistan in view of questions over its acceptability as the change of power was not “inclusive.” He said this in his remarks at the plenary session of SCO heads of State.

In the recent past, the defence and security ties between India and Saudi Arabia are witnessing gradual expansion.

In December 2020, Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane visited Saudi Arabia in the first-ever visit by a head of the 1.3 million-strong Army to the strategically important Gulf nation.