Free Press Journal

India hopeful for stronger ties with Saudi Arabia


Jeddah: India looks forward to forge closer strategic ties and cooperation in all sectors with oil-rich Saudi Arabia under the new leadership of King Salman, who assumed the throne last month.

India is looking forward to strengthen ties with Saud Arabia, particularly in investment sector, as the relationship between the two sides has gone to “another level” since the historic visit of late King Abdullah to New Delhi in January 2006, Indian Consul General in Jeddah B S Mubarak said.

“We are looking forward for more joint investment ventures and want Saudi Arabia’s investors to benefit from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make In India’ initiative,” Mubarak told PTI over phone.

“Modi held two separate meetings with (then Crown Prince) King Salman on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Brisbane and the new Saudi ruler agreed to engage and cooperate with India in all sectors,” he said.

He said he was quite optimistic about the future of the bilateral relations between the two counties as the new King has said he would continue to follow his predecessors’ policy and that there would be no major change in the policies.

“Saudi Arabia and India signed an MoU on defence cooperation and combating terrorism during Salman’s visit to New Delhi less than a year ago,” he said.

Mubarak said India was happy over the quick and smooth transition in the Gulf Kingdom following the death of King Abdullah last week.

“Since Saudi Arabia is the largest supplier of crude oil to India and about three million Indians live here, any smooth transition here is a good news to India,” he said.

King Abdullah, 90, died on January 23 and was succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother Salman as the new ruler.

Besides being a major trade partner, Saudi Arabia is the 4th largest trading partner for India, according to official statistics from Saudi government.

The value of bilateral trade between the two countries has reached USD 29.90 billion during April–November 2014.

The import of crude oil by India forms a major component of bilateral trade. Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, accounting for almost one-fifth of its needs.

During the current year (2014-15), Saudi Arabia is the 4th largest market in the world for Indian exports and is destination of more than 4.11 per cent of India’s global exports.