World Economy

India, S. Arabia to Boost Ties

India, S. Arabia to Boost TiesIndia, S. Arabia to Boost Ties

Seeking to inject new momentum in bilateral ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held wide-ranging talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on ways to expand strategic cooperation in a range of areas including trade, investment and counter-terrorism.

Energy-powerhouse Saudi Arabia is India’s largest crude oil supplier, accounting for about one-fifth of total imports and both sides were of the view that cooperation in this sector should expand, PTI reported.

In the last seven months, it is Modi’s second visit to the Persian Gulf, a strategically important region which is home to over eight million Indians and key to India’s energy security. He had visited United Arab Emirates in August last year.

India’s relations with Saudi Arabia have been on an upswing over the last two decades based on burgeoning energy ties. Both sides are keen on expanding economic ties in a range of areas besides the oil sector.

Ahead of his talks with Salman, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al Jubeir called on Modi and discussed a number of issues of mutual interests.

“We look forward to Prime Minister Modi’s visit which will be another milestone in the relations between our two great nations,” Jubeir said after holding meetings with Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in the run-up to the prime ministerial visit.

“We hope to elevate our relationship from that of the current ‘strategic partnership’,” he said. Head of Saudi Arabia’s national oil company Aramco also called on Modi. He said that Aramco looks at India as its most preferred investment destination. He said, Saudi Aramco looks to India as its No.1 target for investment.

 Meeting With Businessmen, Citizens

Modi also addressed members of the Indian community and said that political stability was behind the economic growth story of India.

The large number of Indian blue collar workers in Saudi Arabia on Saturday came in for much appreciation from Modi for the hard work they have put in for the development of the Persian Gulf country.

“It is your sweat and toil that has brought me here,” Modi said while addressing workers of Indian engineering and infrastructure major L&T at their residential complex.  L&T is doing around $2 billion worth of work on one line of the $600-billion Riyadh metro project.

Modi said that India has the kind of manpower that the world needed today. “When the time comes, people will see the work you have done and you will realize the importance of your efforts,” he said.

Apart from a large number of blue collar workers, Indian doctors, teachers, engineers and managers have made immense contributions to Saudi Arabia’s development, something that has been appreciated by the country’s rulers on numerous occasions.