In his keynote address at the annual Future Investment Initiative (FII) in Riyadh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invited Saudi companies to invest in India’s energy space, saying the government has set a target of USD 100 billion investment in the sector.
Speaking at the annual investment forum, also known as ‘Davos in the desert’, Modi promised stable, predictable and transparent policy regime to catalyse foreign investments. Modi said Saudi national oil company Aramco has decided to invest in the 60 million tonnes a year West Coast refinery project in Maharashtra – which will be Asia’s biggest refinery.
In the infrastructure sector alone, the government aims to have an investment of USD 1.5 trillion in the next five years, he said, adding that manpower and talent mobility should be included in the international agreements, which should not be only restricted to goods.
“I want to ensure you that India’s rate of growth is going to rise further. We are taking steps for the growth of our economy,” he said. “We are improving on our ease of doing business ranking. Due to political stability, predictable policy, and big diverse market, your investment in India will be most profitable.”
Mentioning the various initiatives taken by the government to improve the business climate, the prime minister cited the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, Logistic Performance Index and Innovation Index. He also noted that India’s tax structure and IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) regime are considered best in the world.
Modi-Salman discuss trade, terrorism
Briefing the media following the meeting and luncheon hosted by King Salman for PM Modi, Economic Relations Secretary T S Tirumurti said that the two leaders condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and agreed to step up bilateral security cooperation. They also discussed cooperation in agriculture, oil and gas, maritime security, innovative technology, renewable energy, trade and investment between the two countries during their talks.
The two countries signed several agreements in areas like defence industries collaboration, security cooperation, air services agreement, renewable energy, medicine products regulation, prevention of trafficking of narcotics among others. Tirumurti said the prime minister will also sign the Strategic Partnership Council Agreement with Crown Prince Mohammad to further cement the bilateral ties in political, defence, security, trade and investment.
Earlier today, the Prime Minister commended the improvement in bilateral ties of the two nations’. India and Saudi Arabia are moving from a purely buyer-seller relationship towards a closer strategic partnership that will include the resource-rich Kingdom’s investments in downstream oil and gas projects in the country, he said.
Saudi Arabia is India’s second-biggest oil supplier after Iraq. It sold 40.33 million tonnes of crude oil to India in 2018-19 fiscal, when the country had imported 207.3 million tonnes of oil.
“Saudi Aramco is participating in a major refinery and petrochemical project on India’s west coast. We are also looking forward to the participation of Aramco in India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves,” Modi said
PM Modi meets Jordanian King Abdullah II, discuss several issues to boost bilateral ties
Modi also met King Abdullah II of Jordan on the sidelines of the summit and the two leaders discussed trade and investment and counter-terrorism. The two leaders exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations, including MoUs and Agreements signed during the King’s visit to India in February-March last year. They also discussed the Middle East Peace Process and other regional developments, besides improving cooperation in counter-terrorism, an official said.
This is Modi’s second visit to the Gulf Kingdom. During his first visit in 2016, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz conferred Saudi’s highest civilian award on him. The Crown Prince visited India in February 2019, giving a further fillip to the bilateral ties.
India takes up Pakistan’s denial of airspace use to PM’s aircraft with international body
India has taken up Pakistan’s denial of use of its airspace to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight to Saudi Arabia Monday with the International Civil Aviation Organisation. India has sought overflight clearance from Pakistan for the prime minister’s aircraft to go to Saudi Arabia. Sources said India regrets Pakistan’s decision to yet again deny overflight clearance for the VVIP special flight which is otherwise granted routinely by any normal country.