Formation of Strategic Partnership Council marks a new era of understanding, convergence, and collaboration between India and Saud Arabia

Greeting Indian nationals, persons of Indian origin and friends of India in Saudi Arabia on India’s 72nd Republic Day on Tuesday, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, India’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia in an article in Arab News, said relations between India and Saudi Arabia have evolved into strategic cooperation.

The formation of the Strategic Partnership Council as the highest bilateral mechanism between India and Saudi Arabia in 2019 marks a new era of understanding, convergence and collaboration, Sayeed said.

The ambassador stated that the partnership between the two countries is centered on political, security and strategic cooperation, defense cooperation, energy security, food security, economic cooperation, mutually beneficial investments, healthcare, technology, cultural cooperation, and people-to-people engagement.

Recounting the partnership in trade, the ambassador elaborated that Saudi Arabia is India’s fourth largest trading partner with the two-way trade being pegged at $33 billion in 2019-20. India’s imports from Saudi Arabia were valued at $26.84 billion and Indian exports to the Kingdom at $6.25 billion.

He also explained that the cumulative Indian investments in the Kingdom have exceeded $ 1.5 billion. Indian companies have got the largest number of licences awarded to any foreign country by Saudi Arabia for new projects in 2019, he maintained.

On the Saudi side, the Public Investment Fund announced an investment of $1.5 billion into Reliance’s Jio Platforms in June 2020.

The Indian envoy also expressed hope that launch of the Saudi-India Business Network and the Indo-Saudi Medical forum could help move forward closer economic cooperation between the two countries.

He informed that the two countries are soon going to conclude a new MoU on health cooperation and that India has offered to help Riyadh procure 10 million doses of Covishield vaccine.

India was able to repatriate over 300,000 Indian nationals to their homes from Saudi Arabia under the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ programme that has facilitated the travel of over 4.5 million Indian nationals and others from across the world.

Moreover, India’s ambassador said India has been at the forefront in promoting maritime safety and security in the Indian Ocean region.

Elaborating on this, he added, Indian Navy has deployed ships for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and has also commenced maritime security operations in the Gulf of Oman.

It has taken several initiatives toward increasing maritime domain awareness and rendering humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, on many occasions as the first responder, he elaborated further.

India has also stepped-up cooperation with Saudi Arabia to include joint military exercises, sharing military intelligence, cyber security, combating terrorism, maritime cooperation, and training and capacity building, Sayeed informed.

The ambassador commended Saudi Arabia for the tremendous success of the historic G-20 Summit. India’s holding of the GCC-India ministerial meeting in November was another success, he confirmed.

The two sides pledged to work together to promote peace and stability at the international level and to further enhance bilateral trade by negotiating a free trade agreement between India and the GCC, he added.

Read the full article in Arab News