Several Saudi businessmen expressed their strong interest in investing in the Indian economy, during a recent visit that entailed three cities.
The need for greater Saudi investments in India rose to the forefront of talks after the Director of the Indian Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sunanda Rajagopal highlighted that only 46 Saudi companies operate in India, while 486 Indian firms are active in the Kingdom. The Indian companies are operating in the Kingdom under licenses issued by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.
The Saudi business delegation voiced their concerns regarding the high Indian tax rates and expressed the hope that any obstacles hindering mutual business activities will be overcome through negotiations, Al-Eqtisadiah daily reported yesterday.
However, Indian Consular General in Jeddah Faiz Ahmed Kidwai said the Indian government treated all foreign investors alike and there was no provision to give special treatment to any foreign investors including Saudi Arabian businessmen.
Kidwai made that statement while explaining to the visiting Saudi delegation the economic situation in India and the means to boost Saudi-Indian commercial relations, in addition to the possibility of opening joint ventures.
“Even though there is no special treatment offered to any foreign country, the bilateral relations between India and Saudi Arabia are very strong, especially after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s visit to India and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the Kingdom,” the consul general said.
Kidwai also affirmed the economic stability of both the countries and noted that the two economies are progressing unhindered by the recent global economic crises.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of the Saudi Indian Business Network Ghazi Bin Zagr said he believed in the depth of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
“It is time for the private sector to take the conducive bilateral relations farther ahead. We are very pleased to visit the three Indian cities, including New Delhi.
During our visit we noticed many investment opportunities available for Saudi businessmen, namely in the real estate sector, information technology sector, as well as the textiles, garments and food industries,” he said.
A young businessman, Meshari Zahran of the Zahran Contracts, suggested the establishment of advanced technology universities in the Kingdom with Indian collaboration.
The visiting team also met with leading Indian industrialists, including the Chairman of Tata Group Ratan Naval Tata who explained his companies’ policies and offered training opportunities for Saudi youth.