Saudi Arabia and India: strengthening economic ties
With as many as 1.5 million Indian workers in Saudi Arabia, and bilateral trade that amounted to as much as $25 billion in 2008, relations between the Kingdom and India are high on the priority lists of both nations. And India’s plans to invest in KSA’s telecom and IT sectors are sweetening the pot.
April 13, 2010 5:29 by kippreport
Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman held talks with Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Vice President Hamid Ansari here on Monday and highlighted the strategic relations between the two countries. “India is a strategic partner of Saudi Arabia,” Prince Salman told reporters.
Prince Salman expressed hope that Saudi-India relations would reach new heights in coming years. “I wish continued progress and prosperity for India and its people,” the prince added.
The governor said the landmark visit of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to New Delhi in January 2006 was instrumental in bolstering bilateral ties. “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Riyadh recently and signed several strategic agreements,” the prince said citing growing relations between the two Asian economic giants.
During the meeting, Ansari shared with the governor the pleasant memories of his time in Saudi Arabia as Indian ambassador and commended Prince Salman for his support in strengthening Saudi-Indian relations.
Meanwhile, Prince Salman met with Indian business and industrial leaders and spoke about the age-old relations between the two countries. “Saudi Arabia is a friend of India and our relations are growing day by day,” he added.
Prince Salman expressed hope that economic relations between the two countries would gain strength. “Saudi Arabia is a free and open economy,” the governor said, urging Indian businessmen and industrialists to establish stronger ties with the Kingdom.
In his welcome address, the chairman of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) thanked Saudi Arabia for hosting more than 1.5 million Indian workers and nearly 140,000 Indian Haj pilgrims. He said India had achieved a nine percent growth rate during the past two years. Two-way trade with Saudi Arabia reached $25 billion in 2008. He indicated India’s plan to invest in the Kingdom’s railways, telecom and technology sectors.
Abdul Rahman Al-Jeraisy, chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, invited Indian businessmen to invest in the Kingdom’s vital industrial, electricity, desalination, railway, education and health sectors.
Minister of State for Communications and IT Sachin Pilot voiced India’s desire to boost relations with Saudi Arabia.
Earlier in the day, Prince Salman and his accompanying delegation visited the Saudi school in Delhi.