By Nilofar Suhrawardy, TMO
RIYADH/NEW DELHI: Indian envoy to Saudi Arabia Talmiz Ahmad has been conferred the King Abdulaziz Medal of First Class for his contribution to strengthening bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia. He is the first Indian diplomat to be conferred this honor. The medal, comprising a decorative badge and a certificate signed by King Abdullah, was presented by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal (July 10).
â€œThis (King Abdulaziz Order of Merit â€“ First Class) is a tribute from Saudi Arabia to Talmiz Ahmad for his contributions during both his tenures as Indian Ambassador in promoting bilateral relations between the two countries,â€ Prince Al-Faisal said after conferring the Saudi Award of highest order to Indian envoy.
Ahmad has played a significant role in strengthening Indo-Saudi ties and promoting them on a â€œstrategic level.â€ On this, Ahmad said: â€œIndo-Saudi relations have been transformed into a strategic partnership with the signing of the Delhi Declaration during the landmark visit of King Abdullah to New Delhi in 2006, and the return visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year.â€
The Indian envoy, whose term in Riyadh ends shortly, is also credited for promoting relations between India and Saudi Arabia at several levels, including cultural and economic. Describing his role as â€œmodestâ€ in progress of bilateral ties, Ahmad said: â€œMine has been a modest role in this endeavor, in which a large number of people have contributed both from India and Saudi Arabia.â€
Ahmad was first appointed ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia in January 2000. He has served as ambassador in several other countries, including UAE and Oman. He was appointed again as Indian envoy to Saudi Arabia last year ahead of Prime Minister Singhâ€™s visit to the Kingdom.
In addition to being a career diplomat, Ahmad has written several books and papers on politics of West Asia and energy. The Arabic translation of his book: â€œChildren of Abraham at War: The Clash of Messianic Militarismâ€ was released earlier this month in New Delhi. Ahmad was present on the occasion. His aim is to â€œpromote Indo-Saudi ties in a number of areas on immediate, medium-term and long-term basis that include research and studies, energy discussions and advance guidance with regards to business imunity.â€