King Abdullah will grace India’s Republic Day parade
Rediff and Business Standard report that the king of Saudi Arabia will be the chief guest at this year’s Republic Day parade.
In a significant forward move in oil diplomacy, India has invited King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, king and ruler of Saudi Arabia, to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade on January 26.
Not only will this be the first visit by a Saudi monarch in 50 years (King Saud visited India in 1955), but also will launch a new phase of relations between India and the Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the biggest supplier of oil to India. [Rediff]
Unless specific deals are announced, the Saudi king’s visit does not mean much for oil diplomacy. But it may serve as the platform for a ‘new phase of relations’ between the two countries. Don’t hold your breath though — apart from symbolism (which can be an end in itself), real progress is likely to be limited and incremental. But the foreign policy establishment in Pakistan will get very excited by this one.