New Delhi, Feb 20: The visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Wednesday said that the strong relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in "our DNA" - a remark which was readily endorsed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In his brief remarks after the ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here, the visiting Crown Prince said: "We have very old relations between two countries....Today we want to be sure that this relation is maintained and strengthened for the sake of both countries".
He said, "The relationship between India and the Arabian peninsula, which Saudi Arabia represents 80 per cent goes back to 2000 years....even before history is written".
Flanked by Prime Minister Modi on his right and President Ram Nath Kovind on his left, the Crown Prince said: "The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is in our DNA" -- prompting Prime Minister Modi to remark quickly in affirmative tone "yeah, yeah".
Breaking protocol, Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday evening received the Saudi Crown Prince as the latter arrived on his crucial and maiden state visit to India.
The Crown Prince Salman also expressed hope that under the leadership of President Kovind and Prime Minister Modi, "we can create good things for both Saudi Arabia and India".
Among other engagements, both the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks.
This will be followed by delegation level talks.
In addition to the hardcore diplomatic issues including terror which would figure prominently at the talks between Indian and Saudi sides, issues of Haj quota and imprisonment of Indians in Saudi Arabia will also be raised, official sources said here.
New Delhi has said that notwithstanding the fact that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has made a visit to Islamabad just on the eve of his trip to India, the context of Pakistan is "irrelevant" to India-Saudi Arabia relations.
The Crown Prince who has been to Islamabad on Sunday at the start of his Asia tour - that includes first State Visit to India had returned to Saudi Arabia on Monday.
Apparently, Indian diplomats had 'reservations' over his coming to India directly from Islamabad. (UNI)