NEW DELHI: The growing synergy between India and Saudi Arabia sets an example of cooperation for other countries in the G20, said former ambassador Mahesh Sachdeva ahead of the G20 summit that is taking place in Saudi Arabia on Nov. 21.
“The Kingdom and India are important members of the G20 group,” said Sachdeva, who has spent over a decade of his diplomatic career dealing with the Middle East.
“The mutual bond between Riyadh and New Delhi also underpins peace, stability and security in the Southwest Asian region, which has often been buffeted with turbulence,” said Sachdeva, who is currently the president of Economic Diplomacy and Strategies, a New Delhi-based consultancy.
On March 26, Riyadh organized an emergency summit to discuss this global pandemic which Sachdeva said demonstrates “the Kingdom’s impressive maturity to lead a global economic organization.”
New Delhi is hosting the 2022 G20 summit and “India would naturally leverage the Saudi experience,” he added.
He said that the event this year will be dominated by “pandemic related issues” and stressed the importance of collaboration between Riyadh and New Delhi in fighting the virus.
“Given extensive people-to-people connections between the Kingdom and India, a strong collaboration to combat COVID-19 pandemic is both necessary and desirable,” he said. “As the world’s largest producer of vaccines, India will be an important source of this vital supply to Saudi Arabia in future.”
Bilateral trade between India and Saudi Arabia is worth about $33 billion, with the Kingdom being the largest source of crude for India. In turn, Saudi Arabia relies on India for important items such as rice, vehicles, refined petroleum products, meat, electrical machinery and equipment.
“There has been growth in mutual investments: As of March 2020, there are 476 Indian companies in the Kingdom worth $1.5 billion. While Saudi investments in India stood at $315 million in April 2020,” he said.