India and Saudi Arabia Pledge to Expedite $50 Billion West Coast Refinery Project

India and Saudi Arabia Pledge to Expedite $50 Billion West Coast Refinery Project
India and Saudi Arabia Pledge to Expedite $50 Billion West Coast Refinery Project
India and Saudi Arabia Pledge to Expedite $50 Billion West Coast Refinery Project
India and Saudi Arabia Pledge to Expedite $50 Billion West Coast Refinery Project

India and Saudi Arabia Pledge to Expedite $50 Billion West Coast Refinery Project

India and Saudi Arabia Pledge to Expedite $50 Billion West Coast Refinery Project. /PTI

During a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, India and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their commitment to fast-tracking the implementation of the $50 billion west coast refinery and petrochemical project in Maharashtra. This project, initially planned in 2015, is poised to play a pivotal role in strengthening economic ties between the two nations.

Expanding Horizons: Diverse Areas of Cooperation

India and Saudi Arabia have identified several key sectors for intensified cooperation, including energy, defense, semiconductors, and space. The two countries have also laid the foundation for a “comprehensive energy partnership” to diversify their hydrocarbon relationship further. These initiatives are expected to bolster economic, technological, and strategic collaborations.

Deepening Ties: Signed Pacts and Currency Discussions

Eight significant agreements were inked during the discussions, spanning various domains such as digitization and investment. While the talks touched on trade in local currencies, this aspect is currently in the discussion stage. The focus remains on fostering robust economic relations and enhancing trade dynamics between the two nations.

Security and Counterterrorism: A Shared Commitment

Both India and Saudi Arabia emphasized the importance of enhancing security cooperation to combat terrorism and its financing. Their joint stance firmly rejects any attempt to associate terrorism with a specific race, religion, or culture. This shared commitment to security underscores the countries’ dedication to maintaining peace and stability in the region.

Economic Progress: Trade and Investment Metrics

India’s exports to Saudi Arabia have shown promising growth, increasing from $8.8 billion in 2021-22 to $10.72 billion in 2022-23. Import figures also surged, with imports reaching $42 billion in 2022-23 compared to $34.1 billion in the previous fiscal year, largely driven by oil shipments. Saudi investments in India, as of June 23, stood at $3.22 billion, signifying the depth of economic engagement between the two nations.

A Vision for the Future: Robust Collaboration

Prime Minister Modi highlighted the vast scope for cooperation in areas like grid connectivity, renewable energy, food security, semiconductors, and supply chains. Saudi Arabia holds a significant strategic position in India’s international partnerships, further underscoring the potential for enhanced cooperation.

Bilateral Trade Potential: Toward $100 Billion

Union Minister Piyush Goyal expressed optimism about the bilateral trade relationship, noting that it has the potential to reach $100 billion. India and Saudi Arabia continue to build on their economic synergy, making strides toward fostering enduring ties.

Counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative: India’s Collaborative Vision

During the G20 Summit, India, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the European Union announced an agreement to establish an India-Middle East-Europe shipping and railway connectivity corridor. This initiative is seen as a strategic countermeasure to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Additionally, Saudi Arabia is contemplating the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund office in India’s GIFT City to facilitate investments.

The strong partnership between India and Saudi Arabia is not only poised to enhance economic prosperity but also contributes to regional stability and global cooperation.

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