File photo of Saudi Commerce Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photograph:( DNA )
Saudi Arabia looks at all interests and values its relationship with Pakistan as well as India.
Saudi Commerce Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi speaking to WION's diplomatic correspondent Sidhant Sibal in Riyadh said India as an investment destination and added, Indian friends and bothers have been a forklift to the Saudi economy. They are the largest workforce force of Saudi Arabia and constitute 22 per cent of our manpower resource. Edited excerpts:
WION: Saudi Arabia has plans to invest $100 bn in India. Can you provide us with the break up?
Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi: As you know, it takes two to tango. Both leaders have a great relation, understanding and friendship. We value the Indian people, appreciate the efforts taken in the last 60 years. Indian friends and bothers have been a forklift to the Saudi economy. They are the largest workforce force of Saudi Arabia and constitute 22 per cent of our manpower resource. They are disciplined and highly committed people. So India is an important trading partner to Saudi Arabia and we support India in the energy supply of oil.
It is a win-win situation and we see we can do more with India. We can leverage the advantage India has in innovation, high-tech, and entrepreneurship. Regarding the opportunities, we started with Aramco, it has decided to build a refinery and it is a huge investment. It's a commitment and we are waiting for the government of India to choose the land. We have understood as the PM said that a new regional government has been chosen, so he expects in a very short time the land will be decided. So the ball is now in India's court. It's a beginning with $35 billion investment. We have decided, for every stream identified, there will be a champion from both parties. A council has been created by both the leaders and this council which is supported and headed by both leaders will accelerate the achievement.
WION: How do u see the visit of Indian PM Modi?
Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi: The visit was very successful. It's extremely successful because first, we have learnt so much more about India through such communication. It is through such meetings we learn and understand each other. As we said earlier, communication, communication and communication because if we don't communicate, we misunderstand each other, we miss-perceive each other and misjudge others. We are guilty of being absent and being silent.
WION: How do you see India as an investment destination vis-a-vis Pakistan?
Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi: I don't think we should compare India with Pakistan. As countries India and Pakistan have potential. Pakistan is a great country and has a distinctive competence. Saudi Arabia looks at all interests and values its relationship with Pakistan as well as India.