New Delhi: Betting
big on Asia's third-largest economy, Saudi Arabia's
government-backed fund and private companies plan to invest
heavily in a host of areas in India, the kingdom's ambassador
here, Saud Mohammed Al-Sati, has said.
"Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) is the largest public sector
firm. This company is looking for joint ventures to expand
operations globally. In India it is in the process of investing
around $100 million," Al-Sati told IANS in an interview.
"Several other Saudi firms are exploring similar opportunities.
They are finding India attractive," the envoy said.
According to Saudi and Indian sources, Saudi Arabia's investment
in India runs into hundreds of millions of dollars. Al-Sati said
this investment figure was likely to increase many-fold in the
"I think the actual figure is much more than what government
records say. But in a year or so it will increase sharply," said
the ambassador, an alumunus of the University of Southern
California, who wants to push bilateral trade and investment
relations. Before coming here, Al-Sati was Saudi Arabia's deputy
chief of mission in the US, considered a very important diplomatic
"India and Saudi Arabia share a very strong strategic and friendly
relationship. Both sides are interested in promoting trade and
investments," he said and pointed out that the Gulf kingdom was
the fourth largest trading partner of India.
The two-way trade was $36.74 billion in the financial year 2011-12
out of which $31.06 billion represented India's imports. Saudi
Arabia is the largest supplier of crude to India. Nearly a fifth
of India's total oil supplies come from there.
"Oil is the main thing. But there is a huge scope in areas like
farming, infrastructure, transport, education, healthcare and
technology," Al-Sati said. Saudi Arabia also has over two million
Indians who are lauded for their role in its growth and
The ambassador said companies from both sides saw a lot of
possibilities for investments in the infrastructure sectors,
adding the kingdom was also keen to get Indian investments and
expertise in these areas.
India plans to invest over $1 trillion in infrastructure over the
next five years, with half of that expected from the private
sector and overseas. Saudi Arabia is also looking at $625 billion
in this area, apart from petrochemicals, power, telecom and
As per data available with India's foreign office, Saudi Arabian
General Investment Authority has issued over 400 licences to
Indian companies for joint ventures and 100-percent owned
entities, which is expected to result in investments of $1.62
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)