India, Saudi Arabia to deepen economic, political ties

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (SPA)
Updated 01 December 2018

India, Saudi Arabia to deepen economic, political ties

  • The meeting took place ahead of the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires
  • During the meeting, the crown prince accepted India's invitation for Saudi Arabia to join the initiative of the International Solar Energy Federation

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are to establish a mechanism to scale up Riyadh’s investments in the energy, infrastructure and defense sectors in India. The decision is a result of a meeting that took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires and is a major boost to the bilateral economic and political relationship between the two countries.
“It was a cordial and warm meeting,” Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said in a media briefing.
He said that “the crown prince spoke of India as an important partner” and talked about “finalizing an initial investment in the National Infrastructure Fund.”
“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia referred to the future prospects for investment in the technology sector, the agriculture sector and energy sectors,” Gokhale said.
“The two leaders have agreed that we will now set up a mechanism at the leadership level which will go into the possibilities of concrete actions in terms of investment, in terms of technology, in terms of manufacturing across various sectors — from energy to food security and to infrastructure to defense,” he said.
“This mechanism will be worked out shortly and we will expect that in the next two to three years there will be significantly scaling up in Saudi investments in India,” Gokhale said.
The foreign secretary also told the media that the Indian prime minister stressed the importance of having stable and predictable energy prices. The two leaders discussed how Saudi Arabia can help in stabilizing energy prices, particularly for India.
“Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was mindful of the contributions that Indians have made in the building of Saudi Arabia over the years and he specifically expressed appreciation for this,” Gokhale said.
Later in the day, Prime Minister Modi wrote on Twitter: “Had a fruitful interaction with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al-Saud. We discussed multiple aspects of India-Saudi Arabia relations and ways to further boost economic, cultural and energy ties.”
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), a prominent industry body in India, welcomed the meeting and said that “Saudi Arabia is going to be one of the biggest trading partners in the coming years.”
“The engagement between the two countries has been going on and has gone up in recent years and it will go higher and higher. Saudi Arabia is diversifying and expanding the relationship with India as part of that deeper and growing engagement,” a CII representative told Arab News.
New Delhi-based foreign policy expert Zakir Hussain said that “the issues discussed between two leaders are very important to promote and enhance our economic, infrastructure, technology, energy security, people-to-people relations and other issues related to our mutual interests.”
“In the past 15-and or 16 years Saudi Arabia’s investment has not been more than $50 million to $60 million, which is not much, far less than Kingdom’s potential,” said Hussain, author of the book “Saudi Arabia in a Multipolar World: Changing Dynamics.”

Saudia cabin crew remain unaccounted for after Sri Lanka attacks

Updated 22 April 2019

Saudia cabin crew remain unaccounted for after Sri Lanka attacks

  • One cabin crew member was injured but two remain unaccounted for
  • The airline has said it will issue a statement later on Monday

DUBAI: Two cabin crew of the national airline Saudia remain unaccounted for in Sri Lanka, according to a spokesman.

One crew member was injured following the Easter Sunday attacks which killed at least 290 people and injured 500, but the location of two others was unknown.

“As a result of the tragic events that took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka this morning there are SAUDIA crew members that are reportedly unaccounted for,” a statement released by the airline after the attacks on Sunday read.

The two members, that remain missing, have not been named but they are both Saudi Arabian nationals.

No details have been released of where the two were at the time of the blasts.

The airline spokesman told Arab News on Monday that they were continuing to work with the Saudi Arabian embassy in Sri Lanka.