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29 Sep, 2019 15:58

Saudi Arabia to invest $100bn in India to strengthen ties & diversify own economy – envoy

Saudi Arabia to invest $100bn in India to strengthen ties & diversify own economy – envoy

Saudi Arabia is eyeing long-term investment in India’s key sectors such as petrochemicals, infrastructure and mining, citing the country’s growth potential and the need to diversify the Arab nation’s own economy.

“India is an attractive investment destination for Saudi Arabia and it is eyeing long-term partnerships with New Delhi in key sectors,” Saudi Ambassador Dr Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati said in an interview with India’s PTI news agency on Sunday.

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Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter and a key energy supplier providing India with some 17 percent of its crude oil and 32 percent of its LPG, said it is looking at making investments in India “potentially worth $100 billion.” Saudi money will be poured into India’s energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining sectors, Al Sati said.

According to the envoy, Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil giant Aramco will partner up with India’s Reliance Industries Ltd, a step he said reflected the strategic nature of the energy ties between the two states.

Saudi Aramco’s proposed investments in India’s energy sector, such as the $44 billion West Coast refinery and petrochemical project in Maharashtra, and long-term partnership with Reliance, represent strategic milestones in our bilateral relationship,” the ambassador said.

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Al Sati also spoke of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Saudi Arabia vision 2030” initiative, aimed at reducing the country’s economic dependence on oil and diversifying its economy. He said that a significant expansion of trade and business between India and Saudi Arabia in various sectors is being discussed as part of this initiative. According to the envoy, apart from the oil and energy sectors, over 40 opportunities for joint collaboration and investment between the two countries have been identified in 2019, which raises high hopes that the current bilateral trade volume worth $34 billion will continue to increase in the coming years.

“There is huge untapped potential available in merchandise trade, particularly in non-oil trade and we are enhancing cooperation in economic, commercial, investment, cultural and technological fields,” Al Sati said.

Earlier this week, the kingdom announced that it will launch a new visa program for 49 countries, opening its doors to foreign tourists. That move was the first on the list of social reforms under the “Vision 2030” initiative.

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