By Arab News
By Nirmal Narayanan and Nirmal Menon
Saudi Arabia and India have signed a bilateral agreement to bolster the investment climate in both countries, said a senior minister at an ongoing investment meet in New Delhi.
Speaking at the India-Saudi Investment Forum in New Delhi, Badr Al-Badr, the deputy minister of investor outreach at the Saudi Ministry of Investment, said: “The Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia and Invest India have signed a bilateral agreement to strengthen mutual investment endeavors and have given the comfort zone to investors and traders to do more business.”
The deputy minister further revealed that both nations signed 47 memorandums of understanding, including agreements between private and public sector undertakings.
“Saudi Arabia and India are the right fit for each other. Your demand is our supply, and our demand is your supply as well,” said Al-Badr.
Al-Badr further urged Indian investors and businessmen to invest in the Kingdom.
“You know Saudi Arabia as a long-term global superpower in traditional energy. But you now know that we developed into something much more than that. Our dynamic transformations have been created under the framework of Vision 2030,” said the deputy minister.
He added: “Our Saudi companies are excellent potential partners for you because of their capabilities, capacities, scale, knowledge, financial strength and experience. You will discover that they are great business partners and solution providers.”
Improving trade ties
The deputy minister further said that trade ties between Saudi Arabia and India are growing at a robust rate, with the worth of Indian exports to Saudi Arabia hitting $10.7 billion in 2022 from $5.6 billion in 2018.
Saudi exports to India between 2018 and 2022 also recorded a significant growth. The deputy minister continued it reached $42 billion in 2022 compared to $26 billion in 2018.
“This export growth was achieved during a period of pandemic, energy shocks, geopolitical upheavals, food security challenges, high inflation, environmental challenges and supply chain issues. Despite the challenges, the economy of Saudi Arabia has grown and diversified over the six and half years,” added Al-Badr.
The Indian delegation echoed the sentiment, stating that it felt the time was right to develop the bilateral relationship into an alliance of strength and economic power.
“The time is right, and the time is now. Forever, we knew the strength and power of Saudi Arabia, and you knew what India stood for. So far, we were thinking with our minds, and now, we are thinking with our minds and hearts,” said Invest India CEO Nivruti Rai at the event.
In January, the Saudi Investment Ministry pumped in $1 billion in India’s UPL Ltd. that produces and markets agrochemicals and offers crop protection solutions. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
According to industry reports, this large investment is expected to bring specialized agricultural chemicals production within the Kingdom.
The ISIF in New Delhi is seeking to explore investment opportunities across information and communications technology, entrepreneurship, chemicals, energy and advanced manufacturing sectors.
“Several Saudi Arabian companies have already invested in the Indian solar energy sector, and we look forward to collaborating with you in new areas like hydrogen energy,” said Rajesh Kumar Singh, secretary of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India.
Better business prospects
The investment prospects are also getting brighter thanks to ambitious economic policies essayed by both governments. For instance, Saudi Arabia has taken radical steps to improve the business environment through its Vision 2030 blueprint.
These initiatives, combined with governance and labor market reform, have made it easier to do business, increased the number of industrial facilities, and raised female participation in the labor force.
“Vision 2030 is hinged on three main pillars; a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation,” said Asaad Al-Jomoai, managing director of the global supply chain resilience initiative at the Saudi Investment Ministry, while addressing the forum.
The event is taking place on the sidelines of the official state visit to India by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.
The crown prince also led the Saudi delegation for the G20 leaders’ summit this weekend to seek solutions to the world’s shared challenges.
The India-Saudi Investment Forum follows several events hosted by investment counterparts from countries such as Italy, Japan, Brazil and France.
The forum is part of initiatives designed to attract foreign direct investment to Saudi Arabia in line with its Vision 2030 and the National Investment Strategy, which seeks to unlock $3 trillion in investment opportunities.