Piyush Goyal to meet Saudi ministers on 2-day visit to Riyadh to deepen ties

NEW DELHI: Commerce minister Piyush Goyal is scheduled to meet senior officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), including energy minister Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Salman Al-Saud during his two-day visit to Riyadh starting Tuesday, an official statement said on Monday..

Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal (ANI FILE)
Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal (ANI FILE)

While the minister is travelling to attend the annual event of the seventh Future Investment Initiative (FII), his visit would also strengthen close ties between India and Saudi Arabia amid ongoing geo-political turmoil in West Asia after Hamas’ terror attack in Israel on October 7, which threaten to disrupt energy supply chain, an official aware of the development said requesting anonymity.

India imports about 87% crude oil it processes and Saudi Arabia is one of its major reliable energy suppliers.

According to a commerce ministry statement, FII Institute is a global non-profit foundation, launched by KSA, which aims to discuss new pathways for investment to create a global ‘Impact On Humanity’. Its four areas of focus are – artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, education, healthcare, and sustainability. The conclave’s theme is ‘The New Compass’ that focuses on the New Global Order.

During the course of the event, Goyal will meet KSA officials, including the energy minister, commerce minister Majid bin Abdullah AlKassabi, investment minister Khalid A. Al Falih, industry and mineral resources minister Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef, and Public Investment Fund’s (PIF) governor Yassir Rummayyan, an official statement said.

Goyal will co-chair a conclave session on the theme “From Risk to Opportunity: Strategies for Emerging Economies in the New Industrial Policy Era” along with the KSA investment minister, it said. He will interact with the Indian community that forms an influential part of the Saudi economy and could meet business leaders from across the world, it added.

“KSA is one of India’s most important strategic partners,” the commerce ministry said in the statement. The trade between both countries reached an all-time high of $52.75 billion in 2022-23, it added.

In 2019, the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) was established to enhance the relationship between the two countries. It has two main pillars — the ‘committee on political, security, social, and cultural Cooperation’ and the ‘committee on economy and investments’. Besides the UK, France, and China, India is the fourth country with which Riyadh formed such a partnership, the statement said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and KSA Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud co-chaired the first summit-level meeting of SPC in September 2023. The meeting focused on critical areas such as energy security, trade and investment, defence and security, healthcare and food security.

“The Prime Minister envisions cooperation between the two large and fast-growing economies of the world as this mutual cooperation is important for peace and stability in the entire region,” it said. The presence of commerce minister in the 7th FII is expected to further enhance the strategic partnership and joint cooperation between the two countries in various fields, the commerce ministry statement added.

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