Saudi Arabia’s state-owned fund and private companies plan to invest heavily in a host of vital economic sectors in India, said Saudi Ambassador to New Delhi Saud Al-Sati.
“Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) is the largest public sector firm. It is looking for joint ventures to expand operations globally. In India it is in the process of investing around $ 100 million,” IANS quoted Al-Sati as saying.
He added: “Several other Saudi firms are exploring similar opportunities. They are finding India attractive.”
Al-Sati’s statement follows a successful last week visit to India by a Saudi trade delegation led by Abdul Rahman Al-Rabiah, chairman of the Saudi-India Joint Business Council.
According to Al-Rabiah, the delegation has signed agreements with several Indian companies specializing in IT, education, oil and gas, agriculture and other sectors.
“There were 10 businessmen in our delegation and each one of them has signed agreements and memorandums of understanding with two to three Indian companies,” he told Arab News.
“We have invited Indian businessmen to visit Saudi Arabia to explore investment opportunities in the Kingdom and to establish joint ventures, especially in industry, IT, education and other fields,” he said.
The Saudi delegation conducted roadshows in New Delhi, Hyderabad and Lucknow to woo Indian companies and businessmen to invest in the Kingdom’s infrastructure, energy, IT, health, education, petrochemicals and other projects valued at more than $ 625 billion.
As per data available with India’s foreign office, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority has issued over 400 licenses to Indian companies for joint ventures and 100-percent owned entities, which is expected to result in investments of $ 1.62 billion.
Al-Rabiah said Saudi businessmen had discussed specific projects with their Indian counterparts. “We have requested them to present feasibility, financial and technical studies, explaining investment returns and money movement,” he said.
He said the delegation found Uttar Pradesh a good place for business collaborations. “There is immense scope for agriculture-based industries in UP as it produces a huge range of crops throughout the year,” he added.
The Saudi delegates discussed prospects of recruiting highly talented engineers and craftsmen from the north Indian state. They also referred to promoting student exchange programs between the two countries.
Outlining the opportunity in UP for Saudi investors, Alok Saxena, chairman, Confederation Indian Industry in UP and VP and plant head, Tata Motors, said: “The recently announced Infrastructure and Industrial Investment Policy 2012 by the government undeniably reflects the progressive approach of the state. We invite Saudi Arabia to play an important role in the state’s progress and build durable commercial contacts … Uttar Pradesh presents tremendous scope for partnership.”