Indian, Saudi firms seek to cooperate in infrastructure development

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 06, 2013 10:20 hrs

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Industrialists and businesspersons from India and Saudi Arabia Wednesday stressed the need for greater cooperation in infrastructure development, as both the countries offer huge investment opportunities.

Saudi Arabia offers $624 billion investment opportunities, while India plans to invest nearly $1 trillion in infrastructure development over the next five years.

Addressing the 5th India-Saudi Arabia Joint Business Council meeting, chairman of Saudi-India Joint Business Council Abdulrahman al Rabiah urged both the countries to cooperate in infrastructure development.

"The governments of the two countries have done their job of facilitating two-way business engagements -- our relations with India go back to hundreds of years, the foundation is laid. Yet, the results in terms of business exchanges are not to the level we would like to see," Rabiah said while addressing the meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.

He said Saudi Arabia seeks Indian investments in the areas like petrochemicals, electricity production, water desalination, telecom and information technology, tourism, natural gas production, agriculture expansion and education.

Rabiah, who is leading a high-power business delegation to India from sectors such as fertilizers, pharma, housing, power, petrochemicals and mechanical equipments, said Indian companies can play an important role in development of physical infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.

Rakesh Bakshi, senior executive committee member of FICCI and chairman and managing director of RRB Energy, told the joint council meeting that renewable energy offered tremendous scope for Indian and Saudi companies to work together.

"India has the institutional framework and the technology to develop and promote renewables. We do not believe in re-inventing the wheel. Our companies have the know-how and experience to modify the wheel and suit it to your requirements in the most inhospitable of climatic conditions," Bakshi said.

Bakshi said some of the other areas of opportunities for collaboration between Indian and Saudi companies were in sectors such as education and skill development, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

Saudi Arabia's ambassador to India Saud M. Al Sati said India and Saudi Arabia should engage in more business and trade by cashing in on the opportunities provided by the growth prospects in the two countries.

He said Indian and Saudi Arabian firms should engage more with each other and form long-term business partnerships.

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