Indian PM Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Strengthen Strategic Partnership in Energy Sector
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has hailed Saudi Arabia as one of New Delhi’s most important strategic partners. After a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the energy sector. Modi stated that the partnership between India and Saudi Arabia is essential for regional and global stability, with both sides seeking to enhance their relationship to address changing times.
The India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council, established during Modi’s visit to Saudi Arabia in 2019, aims to foster increased collaboration in critical areas. The council’s first meeting witnessed discussions on various initiatives to propel the partnership to new heights. The visit of Crown Prince Salman, also known as MbS, follows the conclusion of the G20 Summit.
During the ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Prince Salman expressed his pleasure at being in India and congratulated the country on hosting the G20 summit. He emphasized the importance of working together to create a promising future for both nations. Saudi Arabia has emerged as a key strategic partner for India in the Middle East, with bilateral relations witnessing significant progress in recent years, particularly in defense and security cooperation.
The MoU on the energy sector outlines cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia in several domains, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, hydrogen, electricity, and petroleum. The two countries will also collaborate on natural gas, strategic petroleum reserves, and bilateral investment in renewable energy. Furthermore, they aim to explore areas such as climate change mitigation, digital transformation, innovation, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence within the energy sector.
Saudi Arabia’s Investment Minister, Khalid A Al-Falih, announced his country’s consideration of setting up an office for its sovereign wealth fund in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT). This move aims to facilitate investments and enhance economic ties between the two nations. Al-Falih pledged to match India’s offer and open an office for investment facilitation in India as well. The Indian Commerce Minister, Piyush Goyal, welcomed Saudi investors to visit Gujarat International Finance-Tech City and encouraged bilateral trade and investment, with a special emphasis on doubling the current trade volume of $52 billion.
In conclusion, the strengthening of the strategic partnership between India and Saudi Arabia in the energy sector is a significant step towards deepening bilateral cooperation. With the signing of the MoU, both countries are poised to unlock new avenues of collaboration and explore innovative solutions to address shared challenges. The potential establishment of an office for Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in India and the focus on boosting trade further underline the commitment to fostering economic ties and realizing the full potential of this partnership.