Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have decided to set up a mechanism at the leadership level to scale up the oil-rich kingdom’s investments in energy, infrastructure and defence sectors in India as they met on the sidelines of the G-20 summit here.
During the meeting, the two leaders discussed ways to further boost economic, cultural and energy ties.
“It was a cordial and warm meeting,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said after the meeting in Argentina’s capital.
Prince Salman spoke of India as an important partner.
There was specific discussion on How Saudi Arabia can enhance its investments across number of sector in two to three years, he said.
Prince Salman said that Saudi Arabia will be finalising an initial investment into the National Infrastructure Fund.
He also referred to the future prospects for investment in the technology sector, the agriculture sector and energy sectors, Gokhale said.
“Two leaders have agreed that we will now set up a mechanism at the leadership level which will go into the possibilities of concrete actions in terms of investment, in terms of technology, in terms of manufacturing across various sectors from energy to food security and to infrastructure to defence,” he said.
“This mechanism will be worked out shortly and we will expect that in the next two to three years there will be significant scaling up in the Saudi investments in India,” Gokhale said.
The prime minister stressed upon the importance of having stable and predictable energy prices and some discussion took place between the two leaders how Saudi Arabia can contribute and help in stabilising energy prices, particulary for India.
Saudi Arabia is India 4th largest trade partner and is a major source of energy as the country imports around 19 per cent of its crude oil requirement from the kingdom.
“Prince Salman was mindful of the contributions that Indians have made in the building of Saudi Arabia over the years and he specifically expressed appreciation for this,” Gokhale said.
“Had a fruitful interaction with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud. We discussed multiple aspects of India-Saudi Arabia relations and ways to further boost economic, cultural and energy ties,” the prime minister wrote on Twitter.
In recent years, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been a valuable partner. The relationship has expanded beyond the Indian community to issues related to the economy, energy and security. All issues of bilateral and regional interest will be discussed, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The G-20 summit is the first international forum attended by the Saudi Prince’s since the crisis over the grisly murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
The Saudi insider-turned-critic was killed in what Saudi Arabia said was a “rogue” operation and denied any involvement of Prince Salman in the murder.