Saudi investments in India on track despite economic downturn-THE HINDU-04-05-2020

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Despite a massive 50% drop in oil revenues and a downturn in the economy, Saudi Arabia’s investments in India will not be affected, the Kingdom’s Ambassador to India Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati said in a written interview. At a time when a UN body has predicted a cut in about 1.7 million jobs in the Gulf region due to GDP losses the envoy says that worries of retrenchments are premature, but added that the Saudi government is working with India on the repatriation of those who need to return.

There are a large number of expatriates living in Saudi Arabia, which includes around three million Indians. As per King Salman’s Royal decree, the Kingdom is providing coronavirus related medical care free of charge to all residents in the country, including those who are staying illegally in the Kingdom.

Considering the large Indian community in the Kingdom these numbers are within the range of several thousands. In addition to this, there will be those who may get short term leave from their employers until business activities can revert to their usual state before lockdown.

It should be noted though, that even in this environment the Kingdom did not announce any intentions to delay any projects. This will be across all economic sectors as the situation stabilises and the markets gradually continue to open.

Last September, you had said that Saudi Arabia had planned investments in India worth Rs.100 billion in various areas including oil infrastructure. These investments were announced during the historic visit of HRH Crown Prince to India in February 2019.

India is one of the fastest growing economies today and also one of the largest. We will continue to invest in India as our strategic partnership continues to deepen in all sectors.

Our plans regarding investment in India are on track. As I said, our plans to invest in India remain on track as of now. The OIC, which is headquartered in Saudi Arabia issued a strong statement this month calling on India to protect its minorities, and spoke of a “growing tide of Islamophobia”.

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