By Zishan Haider
PM also meets top Saudi Ministers to discuss ways to further deepen bilateral ties in areas of energy, labour, agriculture and water technologies
Modi’s meeting with Saudi Energy Minister assumes significance as the two countries have decided to move ahead on the ambitious west coast refinery project in Raigarh in Maharastra
PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the two leaders exchanged views on working closely together to strengthen the bilateral ties. Before his meeting with the Saudi King, top Ministers of the Gulf nation called on Prime Minister Modi and discussed ways to further deepen bilateral ties in areas of energy, labour, agriculture and water technologies. “A relationship reflecting centuries-old ties! Prime Minister Narendra Modi was warmly welcomed by Saudi King HM @KingSalman underlining a new dimension to our expanding relationship.
His Majesty hosted a lunch in honour of Prime Minister,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet. Prime Minister Modi arrived in Riyadh late on Monday night on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia to participate in the high-profile financial summit Future Investment Initiative, dubbed “Davos in the desert”, an initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This is his second visit to the Gulf Kingdom. During his first visit in 2016, King Salman conferred Saudi’s highest civilian award on him.
The Crown Prince visited India in February 2019, giving a further fillip to the bilateral ties. Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Minister of Labour and Social Development Ahmad bin Sulaiman Alrajhi and Environment, Water and Agriculture Minister Abdulrahman bin Abdul moh sen Al-Fadley were among the ministers who called on Prime Minister Modi in the Saudi capital on Tuesday. The Saudi Energy Minister had a productive meeting with the Prime Minister and the two leaders “talked about efforts to improve energy cooperation between the two nations,” the PMO tweeted.
“Adding even more energy to the India-Saudi Arabia friendship.Ihad an excellent meeting with HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. Energy remains an important pillar of our ties,” Modi tweeted about his meeting with the Energy Minister. The meeting assumes significanceas the two countries have decided to move ahead on the ambitious west coastrefinery project in Raigarh in Maharashtra which will involve investments from Saudi oil giant Aramco, UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Indian public sector oil firms. India, the world’s thirdlargest oil consumer, imports 83 per cent of its oil needs. Saudi Arabia is its second biggest 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.
Key financial summit begins; deals worth $15 bn signed on Day-1
SAUDI Arabia on Tuesday announced that 23 investment agreements totalling more than USD 15 billion in value were signed on the first day of a threeday high-profile financial summit, being attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other world leaders. The deals were signed on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative, dubbed “Davos in the desert”, which is an initiative of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who plans to diversify the Kingdom’s economy while reducing its economic dependence on petroleum products under his ambitious vision 2030 plan.
“Totaling more than USD 15 billion in value, these agreements were exchanged by signatories in a dedicated ceremony held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. Coordinated under Invest Saudi,” the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) said. These agreements reflect the enormous potential that Saudi Arabia offers to investors from across the Kingdom and around the world, it added. “The agreements exchanged here today reflect the strength and diversity of the economy. Under Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is undergoing an ambitious programme of economic reform, and the world is taking notice,” Governor of SAGIA Ibrahim Al-Omar said, noting that Saudi Arabia climbed 30 places in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 report earlier this month.
“The indicators are clear: Saudi Arabia is not only open for business,it’s the economy ofthe future,” he said.The three-day forum is hosting financiers, Governments and industry leaders who would discuss global trade and explore the trends, opportunities and challenges shaping the global investmentlandscape overthe coming decades.
Prime Minister Modi, who arrived in Riyadh late Monday night on a two-day visit, will deliver the keynote address underthe title “What’s nextfor India?” at the forum. “I will speak about the growing trade and investment opportunities for the global investors in India as the country marches forward to a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2024,” Modi said in his departure statement on Monday. Speaking at the forum, Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of the Reliance Industries Limited, said,“The youth of India are our driving force, and the reason India will propel itself to be the 3rd largest economy in the world.”