RIYADH, Feb. 14 (Rahnuma): The first state visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to India later this month will be a historic event, India’s ambassador to the Kingdom said Thursday.
Ahmed Javed told media the two countries would sign agreements across different sectors including energy, infrastructure, housing, tourism and information technology.
The deals would attract potential infrastructure investment and boost development in India, he said.
India and Saudi Arabia enjoyed cordial and friendly ties that were deeply rooted in a shared history and nurtured by vibrant personal exchanges, he said. These links had been strengthened over the years through trade and commercial ties, the ambassador added.
Last month Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah teamed up with Indian hotelier Oyo to support the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan and improve hospitality in Makkah and Madinah.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih has visited India three times, meeting Indian authorities to discuss energy sector investment, while Saudi Aramco has signed an agreement with an Indian consortium to jointly develop a $44 billion refinery in the western port town of Ratnagiri.
Accompanying the crown prince will be a high-level delegation, including ministers and leading Saudi businessmen, according to India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Bilateral trade was $27.48 billion during the last financial year, making Saudi Arabia India’s fourth-largest largest trading partner, the MEA said in a statement issued earlier this week. It added that the Kingdom also supplies around 20 percent of India’s crude requirements.
Nearly 3 million Indians live in Saudi Arabia, making them the largest expatriate group in Saudi Arabia, it said. “Their positive and highly appreciated contribution to the development of their host country has been an important anchor of our excellent bilateral engagement. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also facilitates Hajj pilgrimage to over 175,000 Indians every year.”
The crown prince arrives in Pakistan on Feb. 16 and will stay there for two days. He will be in India from Feb. 19 to 20