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from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Seeking Saudi cooperation on Afghanistan and Pakistan

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saudiPrime Minister Manmohan Singh is making the first visit to Saudi Arabia by an Indian leader since 1982, seeking to build economic ties and to enlist the kingdom's help in improving regional security. While much of the focus is likely to be on securing oil supplies for India's growing economy, the visit is also part of the complex manoeuvres by regional players jostling for position on Afghanistan and beyond.

Singh told Saudi journalists ahead of the visit that he would discuss with Saudi King Abdullah how to promote greater stability and security in the region.  "Both King Abdullah and I reject the notion that any cause justifies wanton violence against innocent people. We are strong allies against the scourge of extremism and terrorism that affects global peace and security," he said.

Junior Foreign Minister Shashi Tharoor also said India could seek Saudi support in persuading Pakistan to act against Pakistan-based Islamist militant groups -- later adding however this did not mean looking for Saudi mediation (anathema to India which sees no room for third party involvement in its relationship with Pakistan).

"Saudi Arabia of course has a long and close relationship with Pakistan but that makes Saudi Arabia all the more a valuable interlocutor for us," he said. "When we tell them about our experience, Saudi Arabia listens as somebody who is not anyway an enemy of Pakistan but rather as a friend of Pakistan, and therefore I am sure listens with sympathy and concern to a matter of this nature."

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