Saudi Arabia's $100bn investment plan in India is on track
Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that its investment plans in India have not derailed and predicted that the Indian economy has the strength to bounce back from the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In February 2019, the Kingdom's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had announced an investment of over $100 billion in sectors like petrochemicals, refining, infrastructure, mining and manufacturing, agriculture, etc.
Saudi Ambassador Dr. Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati told PTI that the Kingdom sees India not only as a strategic partner but also as a close friend. He said in the defense and security departments, the countries are closely engaged in key areas like training, knowledge sharing, and combating terrorism. He also heaped praises on the economic relief package, known widely as the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package.
Sati revealed that there are no changes in Riyadh's plans, as far as investment in India is concerned. "Our plans to invest in India are on track and we are in discussion to prioritize investment opportunities in several sectors in both countries," he added. He also said that the revival of both countries' economies will help elevate other nations in the region as well.
"The economic relief package provided by India for its most prominent sectors is commendable. As the fifth-largest global economy and the largest economy in South Asia, the Indian economy has the impetus to recover from the impact of the ongoing pandemic," Sati went on.
However, Sati didn't speak on Army Chief Gen MM Naravane's recent visit to Saudi Arabia. He merely said, "The Strategic (Partnership) Council set up by two countries in 2019 has opened new avenues on partnership in strategic areas like defense, security counter-terrorism, and renewable energy." In a rare sight, Gen Naravane had recently flown down to the Gulf country and met top military officers.
Sati also spoke about the relationship Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) has established with the Indian companies. PIF had earlier announced an investment of $1.3 billion in Reliance Retail and $1.5 billion in Jio. He said Saudi Aramco, the state-owned petroleum and natural gas company, is interested in India's energy sector. The envoy claimed the recent Labor Reform Initiative (LRI) will cement economic ties.
About LRI, he said, it will enhance the contractual relationship between employer and employees. "The positive economic benefits expected from LRI include the development of the local market and the flexibility of work, increase in productivity within the private sector attracting highly skilled talent, and will ultimately help in achieving the goals of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 through the national transformation program," he went on.