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PM Modi gets a rare honor: To become the first foreign dignitary to interact with Saudi women entrepreneurs
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who will visit Saudi Arabia as a part of his three-nation trip will perhaps, become the first foreign dignitary to interact with Saudi Arabian women entrepreneurs.

Saudi Arabia, which is known as world's most gender-segregated nation, is conferring this honour on Narendra Modi. Diplomats who have a fair exposure to Saudi traditions feel that allowing a foreign dignitary to visit an all-women facility is a rare honor.

Saudi Arabia is a country with lots of gender segregation, it prohibits women from driving and is subjected to an oppressive male-guardianship system. Only 60 per cent of the women population is graduate and the Saudi laws don't allow them to mingle with unrelated men.

A ray of hope came in for Saudi women when King Abdullah in 2011 declared appointment of women to the royal advisory council, the Shura. Now, this move by the country shows its changing face and the process of transformation.

Apart from meeting Saudi Arabian women entrepreneurs, PM Modi will also visit an all-women IT Centre managed by Tata Consultancy Services in Riyadh. The center is providing education to 1,000 Saudi women and imparting IT and entrepreneurship skills to them. The center also provides employment opportunities to many Saudi women.

Over the years Saudi Arabia has been co-operating with India on security matters, including putting a stop on money laundering, terrorist financing, narco terrorism etc. Reflecting its close cooperation in security matters with India, Riyadh has handed over wanted terrorists such as Fasih Mohammad, Zabiudin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, Abu Sufiyanin and Abdul Aziz alias Gidda to India.

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Narayan Nayak
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