India seeks early realization of $100 billion Saudi investment

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, September 19: In line with India’s agile outreach to foreign capital in the post-Covid era, Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal during his visit to Saudi Arabia pressed for an early realization of $100 billion investment commitment made by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman during his visit to New Delhi in February 2019.

Goyal closely followed External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s first ever visit to Saudi Arabia on September 12 as a minister during which he held bilateral talks with his hosts for closer ties between the two nations.

Jaishankar had called on Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, while also taking part in key deliberations, including that of the committee on cultural, political and social cooperation.

Incidentally, Jaishankar has been the Minister for External Affairs since 2019, but it took three years for the globe-trotting high profile Indian face to visit Saudi Arabia.

Goyal visited Saudi Arabia for two days, wrapping up his visit on Monday, while he was the in the kingdom to attend the Ministerial meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council.

The Strategic Partnership Council was instituted in October, 2019 during the visit of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has two main pillars, i.e., political, security, social and cultural committee and the committee on economy and investments.

“Streamlining efforts to realize the announcement made by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, during his visit to India in February 2019, of investments worth $100 billion in India,” said the Ministry of Commerce on the outcome of the visit, while also adding that there has been an endorsement of the 41 areas of cooperation identified by the technical teams under the four broad domains of agriculture and food security; energy; technology & IT; and Industry & Infrastructure.

“Agreement to undertake implementation of the priority projects in a time bound manner. Priority areas of cooperation include collaboration in digital fintech sector through operationalization of UPI and RuPay Card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; re-affirmation of continued cooperation in joint projects including the West coast refinery; LNG infrastructure investment and development of strategic petroleum storage facilities in India,” added the ministry.

Goyal also met Majid bin Abdullah Al-Kassabi, Minister of Commerce of Saudi Arabia, and held wide ranging discussions on the entire gamut of bilateral trade, commerce and investments linkages, added the ministry in an official statement.

“Diversification and expansion of trade and commerce, removal of trade barriers, including the outstanding issues related to sanitary and phytosanitary measures and trade remedies, automatic registration and marketing authorization of Indian pharma products in Saudi Arabia, feasibility of institutionalizing Rupee-Riyal trade, introduction of UPI and Rupay cards in Saudi Arabia were amongst the key points of discussion,” stated the Ministry.

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