Envoy: $100bn Saudi investment in India ‘on track’

Envoy: $100bn Saudi investment in India ‘on track’
Saudi Arabia’s plan to invest over $100 billion in India is still on track despite the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the Kingdom’s ambassador to New Delhi. (File/AFP)
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Updated 23 December 2020

Envoy: $100bn Saudi investment in India ‘on track’

Envoy: $100bn Saudi investment in India ‘on track’
  • Ambassador Saud Al-Sati said Saudi Arabia values India as a strategic partner and close friend
  • “Our plans to invest in India are on track and we are in discussion to prioritize investment opportunities in several sectors in both countries,” he said

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s plan to invest over $100 billion in India is still on track despite the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic, said the Kingdom’s ambassador to New Delhi.
In February 2019, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced that the Kingdom would invest over $100 billion in India in petrochemicals, refining, infrastructure, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and several other sectors.
Ambassador Saud Al-Sati said Saudi Arabia values India as a strategic partner and close friend.
“Our plans to invest in India are on track and we are in discussion to prioritize investment opportunities in several sectors in both countries,” he told the Press Trust of India.
Al-Sati said both countries are cooperating to create partnerships in the defense and security sphere by training, sharing knowledge and combating terrorism.
“The Strategic Partnership Council set up by the two countries in 2019 has opened new avenues on partnership in strategic areas like defense, security counter-terrorism, energy security and renewable energy,” he added.
Al-Sati praised India’s measures to revive its economy, calling its economic relief package “commendable.” He said the economic recovery of both countries will help elevate others in the region.
“As the fifth-largest global economy and the largest economy in South Asia, the Indian economy has the impetus to recover from the impact of the ongoing pandemic,” he added.
Last month, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund announced that it had taken a $1.3 billion stake in India’s biggest retailer.
The government fund acquired the 2.04 percent stake in Reliance Retail Ventures. Reliance Retail operates about 12,000 stores across India’s strategically important retail sector.
“This investment will further strengthen PIF’s presence in India’s dynamic economy and promising retail market segment,” the fund said.
This latest expansion in India follows an earlier acquisition of a 2.32 percent stake in Jio Platforms, the digital services unit of Reliance Industries.
The Reliance conglomerate has interests in oil, petrochemicals and telecoms, and is controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, who is now investing heavily in the booming technology sector.
India’s retail industry is one of the largest in the world, accounting for 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
But the sector has been hit hard by the pandemic, which has had a devastating impact on the wider economy.
“This investment further demonstrates PIF’s commitment to generating returns for the Saudi people and driving the economic diversification of Saudi Arabia,” said the fund’s Gov. Yasir Al-Rumayyan.
The investment flow works in both directions. The Saudi Investment Ministry announced on Tuesday that 306 international companies were granted investor licenses in the Kingdom in the third quarter of 2020, a 96 percent increase on the previous three-month period.
Investment Minister Khalid Al-Falih said the latest figures show that the Kingdom is able to retain the long-term confidence of the global investor community, and is achieving “steady and positive” economic recovery.
Analysis of the figures shows that India was top of the list of foreign companies granted licenses, followed by Egypt and the UK.
The sectors with the highest number of new investors were education, financial services and housing, followed by industry, manufacturing, transport and logistics.