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‘Trade and investment’ to top Saudi crown prince’s India visit | News

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New Delhi, India – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, looking to boost ties with Asian allies, arrives in India on Tuesday for a two-day visit amid rising expectations of further investment deals following a high-profile trip to Pakistan.

In New Delhi, Prince Mohammed will hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a recipient of Saudi Arabia‘s highest civilian honour, the King Abdulaziz Sash. 

“Trade and investment, defence and security, including counter-terrorism, and renewable energy” will be discussed during the crown prince’s meeting with Modi on Wednesday, India’s foreign ministry said.

The two sides are also expected to discuss Saudi oil giant Aramco’s investment in refineries in India, including the company’s stalled project to build a $44bn facility on the western coast of India.

On Monday, Devendra Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra state, announced that the Indo-Saudi project would be moved to a new location following demonstrations by farmers protesting against land acquisition. 

Energy supplies 

India’s ties to Saudi Arabia have grown significantly over the past two decades. Home to more than 2.7 million Indian expatriates, the kingdom is India’s fourth largest trading partner, while bilateral trade is worth $28bn. 

Riyadh is also the top source of India’s energy supplies, supplying 20 percent of its crude.

“India, as a massive consumer of oil, and Saudi Arabia, as a major producer is an obvious synergy,” Manoj Joshi, at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation think-tank, told Al Jazeera.

“Indian corporates, skilled personnel and managers are already playing a big role in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis in turn hope to play a role in India’s growth by becoming investors in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund soon. Investment in non-oil sectors in India is also part of Saudi economic strategy,” he added.

In November, the powerful crown prince and heir to the throne announced he was on the verge of finalising an initial investment in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports, highways and other projects in India.






WATCH: Did Saudi crown prince deserve Pakistan’s highest civilian honour? (04:32)

Pakistan ties

Saudi Arabia has also long been a source of financial aid for India’s nuclear-armed rival, Pakistan.

Tensions between neighbours India and Pakistan have flared since last week in the aftermath of an attack that killed at least 42 Indian paramilitary police in Indian-administered Kashmir.

On Sunday, during Prince Mohammed’s visit in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia signed investment agreements with the South Asian nation worth $20bn.

“The texture of Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Pakistan is different,” Joshi said. “Islamabad looks up to Saudi Arabia as a co-religionist and indeed, leader of the Islamic world. The Indian relationship is based on a practical partnership of two sovereign states.” 

Prince Mohammed’s Asia trip includes a last stop in China, where he is expected to announce deepening cooperation on Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative, a modern-day revival of the ancient Silk Road.

The Saudi leader has been battling a major political crisis after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October.

Joshi said the India trip would “help a little bit” in the attempts to refurbish the international image of the Saudi rulers.

Before his arrival in New Delhi, hundreds of people on Monday protested against the Saudi military onslaught in Yemen and Khashoggi’s killing.

“Saudi Arabia is guilty of war crimes in Yemen. Civilians and children have died because of the war criminal Mohammed bin Salman. The Indian government should not give him a red-carpet welcome,” Shujaat Ali Quadri, organiser of the protests in New Delhi and spokesman of All India Tanzeem Ulema e-Islam, told Al Jazeera. 






WATCH: Why is Saudi crown prince turning to the east for business? (12:05)

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Bride calls off wedding after discovering fiancé made ‘sexist’ demand to her dad

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A bride made the devastating decision to cancel her wedding to her partner of seven years after her dad revealed the ‘sexist’ demand his family had made behind her back.

The dad says his daughter got engaged recently and he had always been fond of her fiancé, who he thought of as “kind, humble and always respectful to our family”.

However, he says when he has met the man’s family for dinner on a couple of occasions, they made remarks towards his daughter which made him feel uncomfortable, including: ‘I don’t know why you’re working, isn’t that the husband’s job? It’s the mother’s job to be taking care of the children’.

As his daughter pair pressed ahead with their plans for the ceremony, the dad says her fiancé arranged a meeting with them both and his parents, adding that his daughter couldn’t be involved.

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Gordon Ramsay’s £20 ‘preselected’ cheese board labelled ‘insulting’ by furious customer

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Gordon Ramsay has sparked outrage once again as a customer complained that a cheese board he received at one of the celebrity chef’s restaurants was “insulting” and “preselected”.

Previously, Gordon was slammed for the size of his steak and chips, was told to “get a grip” for the price of his fry-up and criticised for the roast which was compared to a ‘child’s portion’.

But the latest customer to be disappointed by the TV chef’s food was Simon, who visited the three Michelin star restaurant with friends, Daily Star reports.

Simon was ‘insulted’ after receiving a “preselected” cheese board, and took to TripAdvisor to leave a two-star review.

Their review said: “I visited GR hospital road on a Friday night with friends for a special treat.

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Mum shares tip to fit three pizzas on one oven shelf to make family cooking easy

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Cooking pizzas for the whole family should be quick and easy dinner option – but it usually also throws up a headache.

With only one small oven to get the job done, we have to decide between either cooking one at a time and eating separately, or attempting to rotate them every few minutes to cook them evenly.

But one mum has revealed a painfully easy solution to get three frozen pizzas on one shelf, giving her room to put chips on a tray below – and you’ll wonder why your brain has never come up with the solution itself.

Posting on the Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook group, the mum demonstrated how she cuts the frozen pizzas in half before arranging them all on a single oven rack, making use of all available space.

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