India, Pak Hope To Reap Investment From Saudi Crown Prince's Visit

RYAD KRAMDI  AFP  Getty Images

RYAD KRAMDI AFP Getty Images

Defence, trade and energy security are expected to be high on the agenda when Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman holds talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to India next week.

The powerful heir to the oil-rich kingdom is expected to arrive in Pakistan this week, but the exact date of his arrival has not been disclosed due to security reasons.

According to sources, a big consignment of his personal amenities along with his security staff and Saudi media teams has also reached Islamabad.

The CIA has concluded the Saudi operation was likely directed by the powerful crown prince, but the White House has sidestepped that finding amid strenuous denials by Riyadh, a key U.S. ally.

The Crown Prince is expected to visit on afternoon and he will return on next day afternoon.

The investment deals with Saudi Arabia will mark a partial departure from Pakistan's decades-old policy of begging from Saudi Arabia in hard economic times.

Sharif, who chairs Pakistan's Board of Investment, said there was also Saudi interest in Pakistan's mining sector. He said the cost of the oil refinery will be in the range of USD 5 billion to USD 6 billion but if the Saudis decide to build a petrochemical complex the cost would increase close to USD 10 billion.

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Pakistan is seeing this investment as a big opportunity to revive its ailing economy.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince at least had knowledge of the plot.

Crown Prince Muhammad will be the first state guest to stay at the government building reserved for the prime minister of Pakistan.

Adel al-Jubeir, the country's minister of state for foreign affairs, continued to claim Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) had no involvement in the October slaying of Khashoggi, despite the CIA's determination that he was behind it.

The PM had attended Future Investment Initiative conference besides holding meetings with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

As a fellow Muslim country, Pakistan has long maintained strong ties with Saudi Arabia. He added that the delegation will include members of Saudi Royal family, high government officials and renowned businessmen of the Kingdom.

Among the officials that accompanied the Crown Prince was Sheikh Saad Bin Nasser Al-Shithri, member of the Council of Senior Scholars and advisor at the Royal Court.

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