India and Saudi Arabia explored avenues for intensifying energy cooperation, particularly in renewables and grid connectivity
Secretary (Consular, Passport, Visa & Overseas Indian Affairs) Muktesh K Pardeshi, who was an official visit to Saudi Arabia from May 4 to May 7, 2024, held a series of high-level meetings aiming to reinforce the strategic partnership between the two nations in addition to reviewing preparations for Haj pilgrims from India.
The discussions during these meetings were diverse, ranging from energy cooperation to trade and investment. The MEA Secretary also utilised the opportunity to connect with the Indian community in Saudi Arabia.
Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) Meeting

In Riyadh, Secretary Pardeshi held comprehensive talks with Deputy Minister for Political Affairs Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati to evaluate progress made through the Strategic Partnership Council. The two sides also reviewed various topics of bilateral and mutual interest. Pardeshi reaffirmed India's dedication to enhancing collaboration with Saudi Arabia across multiple sectors.
Furthering economic ties, Secretary Pardeshi met with Assistant Ministers Nasser Al Qahtani (Electricity Affairs) and Mohammed AIbrahim (Petroleum and Gas). They explored avenues for intensifying energy cooperation, particularly in renewables and grid connectivity, while also discussing measures to facilitate investments. In a separate meeting with Raad Al Barakati, President and CEO of the Saudi Centre for International Strategic Partnerships, both sides reviewed progress in the Economy pillar of the SPC, solidifying plans for future cooperation.
Engagement with GCC Secretariat

A key aspect of the visit was Pardeshi's engagement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). He met with GCC Assistant Secretary General Abdulaziz Aluwaisheg to discuss enhancing the institutional framework for cooperation. They identified opportunities for strengthening ties across various sectors, such as trade, security, energy, and cultural exchange. The two officials also exchanged perspectives on regional and international developments.
Secretary Pardeshi utilised his time in Saudi Arabia to connect with the 2.4 million-strong Indian community. He acknowledged the Saudi leadership's efforts to ensure the well-being of Indian nationals and expressed his gratitude for their contributions to Saudi society. Pardeshi interacted with community members in both Jeddah and Riyadh, reaffirming the Indian government's continued support.
A reception held at the India House in Riyadh further underscored the warmth of the Indo-Saudi relationship. India's Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Suhel Khan, welcomed Pardeshi, with representatives from various diaspora organizations and sections of the Indian community in attendance. Pardeshi recognized the crucial role of the Indian diaspora in achieving India's national goals, emphasizing their role in mutual prosperity and collaboration.
During his visit, Secretary Pardeshi met with Vice Haj Minister Abdul Fattah Mashat to assess preparations for Haj 2024 in Jeddah and Madinah. They discussed logistical arrangements and infrastructure developments for the comfort and welfare of Indian pilgrims. This year, 175,025 pilgrims from India will participate in the pilgrimage under the Haj quota
Secretary Pardeshi's visit to Saudi Arabia solidified the robust and multifaceted partnership between the two nations, reaffirming India's commitment to fostering mutual prosperity and growth. Through strategic dialogues and extensive community engagement, this visit laid a strong foundation for deeper ties in the years ahead.