India and Saudi Arabia on Friday resolved to provide more diversity to their economic and political ties, two days after signing a breakthrough MoU on defence cooperation.
A joint statement released after talks between the visiting Saudi Arabian Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and the Indian leadership, including President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice-President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, took note of the two high-level interactions over the past eight years that have charted the relationship into new areas. These include the visit of King Abdullah to India in 2006 and Dr. Singh’s visit to Riyadh in 2010.
While the MoU on greater cooperation in the defence industry, science, technology and transfer of technology signalled the development of state-to-state trust, the Crown Prince’s meetings also laid emphasis on greater participation by the private sector, especially the cash-flush Saudi-based investment funds by speeding up consultations on a framework agreement between Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority and Invest India. This pact will facilitate investments by the private sectors, especially in petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. They also took note of the issues affecting growth and flow of investments and promotion of trade.
Largest crude supplier
Saudi Arabia, India’s largest supplier of crude oil, reiterated its commitment to implement all issues mentioned in the Delhi (2006) and Riyadh (2010) declarations, especially on moving to a deeper partnership in the hydrocarbons arena including investments and joint ventures, bilaterally and in third countries as well. They agreed to hold further discussions on this aspect during the next meeting of the annual India-Saudi Arabia energy consultations. India also thanked the Saudi leadership for hosting a large Indian community and for ensuring their well-being.
The two sides also agreed to strengthen cooperation in the area of radio and television, as also in fields of media coverage and training, besides agreeing to activate the agreement signed between Saudi Press Agency (SPA) and the Press Trust of India (PTI).