Saudi monarch guest of honour on 26th January

Vol 9, PW 17 (01 Dec 05) News in Brief

King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia will be the chief guest of honour at Indias Republic Day parade on 26th January.

PETROWATCH learns from the office of President APJ Abdul Kalam that the King's itinerary is yet to be finalised. The Ministry of External Affairs will coordinate with Saudi authorities to finalise the dates and other programmes of the King, a presidential spokesman tells us.

India imports 26% of its crude from Saudi Arabia, making the visit hugely significant. Delhi is certainly going to ask for enhanced oil supplies during the King's visit, adds a ministry source.

India wants to extend its influence beyond the Persian Gulf to the Saudi peninsula and the two countries are looking at ways to increase energy cooperation. Oil minister Mani Shankar Aiyar visited Saudi Arabia in March and then again in November.

Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi visited Delhi in January.