Bearing testimony to the growing defence ties between the two countries, Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt is currently on a visit to Riyadh as head of the Indian delegation for the ongoing World Defence Show (WDS) 2024.
Following the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after he visited the Gulf kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul earlier this month, there has been calls for Saudi Arabia to come up with answers to the many questions being asked by the international community. Issuing a statement on Sunday, Saudi Arabia rejected any international threat and “attempts to undermine it”.
Without naming Jamal Khashoggi, the statement issued by the country’s foreign ministry said the Saudi Arabia had played a prominent role “in achieving security, stability and prosperity of the region”. The statement was shared with the media by the Saudi Arabian Embassy in New Delhi.
It read: “An official source stated that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and from its leading position in the Arab and Islamic worlds has played a prominent role throughout history in achieving security, stability and prosperity of the region and the world, leading efforts in combating extremism and terrorism, enhancing economic cooperation and consolidating peace and stability in the region and the world and it is still working with brotherly and friendly countries to promote these goals, basing all of this on its own status as a platform of revelation.”
The statement added: “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether by threatening to impose economic sanctions, using political pressures, or repeating false accusations that will not undermine the Kingdom and its staunch positions and Arab, Islamic and international status, the outcome of these weak endeavours, like their predecessors, is a demise.”
It said the Saudi Arabia Kingdom, its government and people “are steadfast, glorious as ever, no matter whatever the pressures and circumstances might be”.
“The Kingdom also affirms that if it receives any action, it will respond with greater action, and that the Kingdom’s economy has an influential and vital role in the global economy is affected only by the impact of the global economy,” the statement said, adding: “The Kingdom appreciates the brothers’ stand in the face of the campaign of false allegations and falsehoods, as well as it appreciates the voices of the wise people around the world, who have overcome wisdom, deliberation and the search for truth instead of rushing and seeking to exploit rumours and accusations to achieve goals and agendas unrelated to the search for truth.”
Jamal Khashoggi has been missing since October 2, and was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey. Officials in Turkey have accused Saudi Arabia of murdering him inside the diplomatic mission where Khashoggi had gone to obtain official documents for his upcoming marriage.
On Saturday, US President Donald Trump had warned that his administration could severely punish Saudi Arabia, a key ally of Washington, if it were found responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible murder. Amid fears of US sanctions after Trump’s comments, the stock market plunged nearly 7 per cent the Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Khashoggi is a permanent resident of the US living in a self-imposed exile. He wrote for The Washington Post and had been critical of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His possible murder had generated a strong international backlash against the kingdom.
Khashoggi to get married to his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish woman.