New Delhi : India is working with Saudi Arabia on creating an investment bridge to accelerate bilateral projects and facilitate investments, with the measure expected to catalyze greater economic interconnectedness.
During his trip to Riyadh this week, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, secretary in charge of the Gulf region at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, held talks with Saudi officials, including Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Waleed bin Abdul Karim Al-Khereiji, on the India-Saudi Arabia strategic partnerships, and International Partnerships Deputy Minister Mohammed Al-Hassnah, with whom he agreed on the initiative to bridge bilateral investment activity.
“Cross-border investments have become a major tool for progress and development for nations. India and Saudi Arabia are in a unique position to benefit from mutual investments depending on our strengths,” Sayeed told Arab News on Friday.
He said Saudi investments in India have consistently grown, presently reaching $3 billion, and Indian businesses have invested more than $2 billion in the Kingdom.
Significant investment opportunities, he said, have lately emerged in areas such as renewable energy, petrochemicals, infrastructure, food security, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, education, defense, information technology, artificial intelligence and entertainment.
“An institutional mechanism for facilitating investments on both sides will be of great help to them,” Sayeed said.
This mechanism, or investment bridge, is also seen as a means to facilitate all the projects under the $100 billion initiatives discussed by the two countries — both members of the Group of 20 largest economies — during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India in February 2019.
“The deliberation on forming an investment bridge is noteworthy…Given that both India and Saudi Arabia are G20 economies and have experienced fast growth, this is a welcome step and can catalyze greater economic interconnectedness,” said Muddassir Quamar, Middle East expert and fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi told Arab News.
“In addition to political, economic, security and cultural links, the two-way flow of investments is an important component of the bilateral relations.”
Prof. Sujata Ashwarya of the Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi said the initiative comes in a context of several other joint projects, which both sides are eager to advance for mutual benefit.
“The investment bridge will provide the required impetus for Saudi investment in India,” she said. “It might even develop into an institutional mechanism for trade and commerce between the two nations.”