PM Modi, Saudi King condemn terrorism; sign business deals worth USD 15 billion at key financial summit
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that 23 investment agreements totalling more than USD 15 billion in value were signed on the first day of a three-day high-profile financial summit.
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Riyadh to attend an investment summit dubbed ‘Davos in the desert’, on Tuesday discussed Saudi investment plans in downstream oil and gas projects in India, according to sources.
Modi, who met Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, tweeted, “Energy remains an important pillar of our ties.” Modi, who will be delivering the keynote address at the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh, will also sign energy deals with the Arab Kingdom, including its participation in India’s strategic crude reserves project.
Top diplomatic sources said the Prime Minster discussed Saudi plans for investments in India as both countries look to diversify their energy relations. India, which is Saudi’s fourth largest trade partner, has increased its purchase of oil from the desert kingdom after the US slapped sanctions on Iran, one of India’s main suppliers of crude. Saudi Arabia sold India approximately 18 per cent of its crude requirements last year and this figure is likely to go up this year.
“The visit will strengthen the already strong energy relationship between the two countries where we are witnessing a diversification into downstream investments such as Saudi Aramco’s backing for the Raigad refinery,” said Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, former secretary for economic relations in MEA.
“Interestingly, the relationship is also now diversifying into the strategic domain with joint defence and naval exercises by the two nations,” Chakravarty said. India and Saudi navies will be holding their first joint naval exercise later this winter.