Why in news?
- India on 23rd April 2020 thanked Saudi Arabia for looking after the expat Indian community as the world continued to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar spoke with his Saudi Arabia and Oman counterparts as the Gulf region began observing the holy month of Ramadan.
- Appreciated the very warm conversation with His Highness Prince Faisal, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia. Thanked him for taking care of the Indian community there.
- Discussed our shared interests in ensuring health and food security. India will remain a reliable partner.
- It is understood that Delhi had also assured Riyadh that the pandemic will not affect India’s supply of high-quality Basmati rice to the monarchy.
- The conversation shows official continuity even as people to people-level ties were affected after notable Arab commentators took to social media over the past few days to highlight incidents of Islamophobia in India.
- Also thanked Foreign Minister Yusuf Alawi of Oman for “taking care” of the Indian community.
- Saudi Arabia has witnessed a surge in the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks with reports suggesting that a bulk of the affected patients are from the Indian blue-collar workers.
- The expats have been in contact with the authorities through the COVID-19 cell of the Ministry of External Affairs which has been the coordinating body of the international operations.