From security issues to trade and investment affairs, the King of Jordan Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein’s three-day visit to India is loaded with opportunities. His arrival on Tuesday, soon after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip, comes at a time when India is increasingly engaging with Muslim countries on a host of possibilities. To begin with, the King advocates a moderate brand of Islam, which assumes critical significance against the backdrop of increasing radicalisation and terror attacks perpetrated by fundamentalists.
His address at Vigyan Bhawan, titled ‘Promoting Understanding and Moderation’, organised by the India Islamic Centre, will, no doubt, contribute to empowering the rational voices in Islam, which are drowned by the aggressive posturing of hardliners in India and abroad. It is believed that his speech will help mitigate the internal security threats posed by home-grown radicals. India’s diplomatic relation with Jordan goes back to the 1950s, though the first bilateral agreement was forged right after India gained Independence.
According to the External Affairs Ministry, India-Jordan trade stood at $1.35 billion in 2016-17. In this ongoing royal visit, these figures will get a massive boost since Al-Hussein is expected to sign several MoUs and agreements in key areas of bilateral cooperation apart from interacting with CEOs and attending India-Jordan Business Forum. Jordan, it is believed, will be a valuable ally in India’s Look West policy. The outreach programme initiated by PM Modi has already made giant strides into West and Central Asia. The King, who had hosted PM Modi at his residence in Amman a few days ago, had also been instrumental in facilitating the Indian premier’s visit to Palestine. This sort of convergence of Indian and Jordan interests can set the template for other Islamic countries who are willing to deepen bilateral ties with New Delhi.