Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 June 2019

India says Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered release of 850 Indians jailed in Saudi Arabia

Indian foreign ministry reveals Saudi royal's gesture during state visit to New Delhi

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on February 20, 2019. Reuters
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on February 20, 2019. Reuters

Saudi Arabia will release 850 Indians from its prisons after a request from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's visit to New Delhi, India's foreign ministry said.

Saudi jails hold the greatest number of Indians incarcerated in any country abroad. As of January 2019, 2,224 Indians were jailed in the kingdom for crimes including murder, kidnapping, bribery, cheating, and offences related to drugs and alcohol, according Indian foreign ministry figures.

Some 2.7 million Indians in Saudi Arabia form the largest expatriate community in the kingdom, with many working in low-paid jobs in sectors such as construction, domestic services and retailing.

"At the request of the PM @narendramodi, His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia has ordered the release of 850 Indian prisoners lodged in Saudi jails," India's foreign ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia ordered the release of about 2,100 Pakistani prisoners from its jails, according to Pakistan's information minister. Prince Mohammed visited India's arch regional rival earlier this week, before heading home and then flying to New Delhi.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia signed investment agreements with Pakistan worth $20 billion. In New Delhi on Wednesday, Prince Mohammed said he expected investment opportunities worth more than $100 billion in India over the next two years.

The crown prince arrived in China on Thursday on the next stop of an Asian tour that will take him to South Korea next.

He is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday.

Updated: February 21, 2019 12:35 PM

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