Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal has expressed interest in arranging a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to reports.
Prince Alwaleed, the founder and chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, was reportedly impressed by Modi during his recent visit to the US.
According to Prince Alwaleed’s official website, the billionaire sent a message to CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who interviewed Modi, which read: “The Indian Prime Minister is impressive; I’m going to ask to meet him after he comes back from his USA visit.
“When a leader of a nation of 1.25 billion people has such a strong personality, charisma and vision then the people of that nation, India, should have plenty of optimism about their future.”
The Saudi embassy in New Delhi and the Indian embassy in Riyadh have since discussed a possible meeting with their host governments, The Indian Express daily reported.
The paper also said that this is the first time that a Saudi Prince has expressed interest in speaking to Modi.
Saudi Arabia and India share strong ties, with India ranking as the Kingdom’s fourth largest trading partner. The value of two-way trade between the two countries was over $48.75 billion in 2013-14, up 11.3 per cent year-on-year. Saudi Arabia is also India’s largest supplier of crude oil, accounting for almost one-fifth of its needs.
The two nations are also seeking to grow bilateral investments, with Saudi investment in India between April 2000 and March 2014 amounting to $41.99 million.
The 2.5 million plus strong Indian community in Saudi Arabia is also the largest expatriate community in the Kingdom.