NEW DELHI: There is great potential for partnerships between Saudi Arabia and India on climate action in the run-up up to this year’s G20 summit and beyond, according to Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, the secretary for consular, passport, visa and overseas Indian affairs at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
During a briefing in New Delhi, he said both countries are leading players in their respective regions in terms of environmental action and the battle against climate change.
“India and Saudi Arabia are emerging economies as well as members of the G20,” Sayeed told Arab News. “As responsible regional leaders, both countries have committed to fighting against climate change and environmental degradation, through ambitious initiatives.”
Since India assumed the year-long rotating presidency of the G20 on Dec. 1, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set numerous targets for climate action, green development and climate finance, and Sayeed predicted strong partnerships with Saudi Arabia on these issues in the near future.
“I am sure that the coming months and years will see our relations strengthen in several new areas, including renewable energy and green hydrogen, petrochemicals, pharma … and other new technologies.”
He described existing relations between the Kingdom and India as close and said they have only become stronger as a result of their shared views and goals on climate action.
“The relationship between India and Saudi Arabia is historic and is assuming new dimensions and heights each passing day,” Sayeed said.
“I am very hopeful for a great future for both of our countries with our young populations and visionary leadership.”
The establishment of the Indian-Saudi Strategic Partnership Council in 2019, featuring high-level representatives up to and including prime minister and crown prince, had helped propel bilateral relations to new heights, he added.
“The ministerial-level meetings of the Strategic Partnership Council took place in 2022 and we are looking forward to the first meeting of the council between Prime Minister Modi and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman soon,” Sayeed said.
He noted that relations between India and Saudi Arabia have been significantly enhanced and strengthened in recent years in many fields, including politics, commerce, energy, defense, security and culture.
“You may expect more political and economic engagements between the two countries this year, both bilaterally and through G20,” he added.
Both nations have invested heavily in new technologies, such as green hydrogen, and “there are great opportunities for us to work together both at government and private-sector levels in these areas,” said Sayeed.
He also highlighted some of the Kingdom’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change, including its decision to join the International Solar Alliance in 2019 and its launch of the Saudi Green and Middle East Green initiatives in 2021.
“We welcome the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative and have participated in their meetings,” he added. “We hope to contribute further to the work on climate change during our presidency of G20 this year.”