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September 30, 2019

Saudi Arabia to invest Rs15,682 bn in India

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September 30, 2019

NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, is looking at investing $100 billion (Rs15,682 billion) in India in areas of petrochemicals, infrastructure and mining among others, considering the country's growth potential. Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to India Dr Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati has said India is an attractive investment destination for the kingdom and it is eyeing long-term partnerships with New Delhi in key sectors such as oil, gas and mining, international media reported.

"Saudi Arabia is looking at making investments in India potentially worth $100 billion in the areas of energy, refining, petrochemicals, infrastructure, agriculture, minerals and mining," Al Sati told PTI in an interview.

He said Saudi Arabia's biggest oil giant Aramco's proposed partnership with Reliance Industries Ltd reflected the strategic nature of the growing energy ties between the two countries.

The envoy said investing in India's value chain from oil supply, marketing, refining to petrochemicals and lubricants is a key part of Aramco's global downstream strategy. "In this backdrop, 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," he said.

The envoy said the vision 2030 of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will also result in significant expansion of trade and business between India and Saudi Arabia in diverse sectors. Under vision 2030, Saudi Arabia plans to diversify the Saudi economy while reducing its economic dependence on petroleum products. Saudi Arabia is a key pillar of India's energy security, being a source of 17 per cent or more of crude oil and 32 per cent of LPG requirements of India.

The envoy said more than 40 opportunities for joint collaboration and investments across various sectors have been identified between India and Saudi Arabia in 2019, adding that the current bilateral trade of $34 billion will undoubtedly continue to increase.

"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," the envoy said.

Talking about 'Vision 2030', Al Sati said Saudi Arabia is working towards transforming its economy and looking at a post-oil age of world-class technological research, start-up and entrepreneurial vigour. "The entire development strategy of the kingdom rests on three pillars - to build a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation," he said.

"The World Bank too has ranked the kingdom as the fourth largest reformer within G20. The number of foreign investment licences granted in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2018 increased by 130 per cent," he said.

The envoy also talked about Saudi Arabia's new residency permit scheme for qualified international expatriates. "This move is expected to attract leading global innovators and investors to live and work in Saudi Arabia, and help drive the private sector growth needed to realise the goals set out in Saudi Vision 2030," he said.

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