External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a "productive" meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf. The two leaders signed an MoU on the mechanism of consultations between India and the six-nation regional bloc.

Jaishankar arrived in Saudi Arabia on Saturday on a three-day visit to discuss ways to further strengthen relations between the two countries. It is his first visit to Saudi Arabia as External Affairs Minister.

On the first day of his visit on Saturday, Jaishankar met GCC Secretary-General and exchanged views on current regional and global issues.

"Productive meeting with @GCC Secretary-General Dr Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf. Signed the MoU on the mechanism of consultations between India and GCC. Exchanged views on the current regional and global situation and the relevance of India-GCC cooperation in that context," Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

India’s old, historical ties with the GCC states, coupled with increasing imports of oil and gas, growing trade and investment, and the presence of approximately 6.5 million Indian workers in the region, are of vital interest to India, according to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh.

India’s economic linkage with the GCC has increased steadily, especially due to the growth in oil imports.

During 2020-21, India’s exports to GCC were $28.06 billion. The bilateral two-way trade during the period was $87.36 billion.