India collaborates with Saudi Arabia to build an investment bridge

New Delhi — India and Saudi Arabia are collaborating to build an investment bridge, in order to expedite investments and speed up bilateral projects. This initiative is projected to spark a greater degree of economic interconnection.

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, secretary for the Gulf region at the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, visited Riyadh this week and met with Saudi officials, including Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdul Karim Al-Khereiji and Deputy Minister of International Partnerships Mohammed Al-Hassnah, with whom he reached an agreement on a plan to boost bilateral investment activity.

“Cross-border investments have emerged as a key tool for national development and advancement. Depending on our respective capabilities, India and Saudi Arabia are in a unique position to gain from joint investments, Sayeed told Arab News on Friday.

He claimed that Saudi investments in India have steadily increased to a total of $3 billion, and that more than $2 billion has been invested by Indian companies in the Kingdom.

He said that there have recently been significant investment prospects in industries like petrochemicals, infrastructure, food security, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, education, defence, information technology, artificial intelligence, and the arts.

They would benefit greatly from “an institutional structure for facilitating investments on both sides”, Sayeed said.

When Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited India in February 2019, the two countries—both members of the Group of 20 major economies—discussed a $100 billion plan. This mechanism, or investment bridge, is considered as a way to assist all the projects under this initiative.

“The discussion about creating an investing bridge is interesting…This is a positive step that can spur greater economic interconnectedness given that both Saudi Arabia and India are G20 economies and have experienced rapid growth”, said Muddassir Quamar, a fellow at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi and a Middle East expert.