PM Modi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chair SPC meeting

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud signed minutes of the first meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council (SPC) at the Hyderabad House, in the capital today. 

The strategically important SPC meeting comes two days after the launch of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor at the just culminated G20 summit in New Delhi. The SPC Council was first set up in 2019, in line with Riyadh's partnership with the United Kingdom, France, and China.

During the meeting, the two leaders agreed to set up a joint task force to fast-track the West Coast refinery project and implement the US$ 50 billion integrated refinery and petrochemical complex on Maharashtra's west coast.

The mega project called Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (RRPCL) is a joint venture partnership between three of India’s biggest petroleum PSU, Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) in the ratio of 50:25:25 formed in 2017.

Two years later in 2019, Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company joined the venture to collectively own a 50 per cent stake in the project, which is expected to bring $35 billion of foreign direct investment to India.

Following the end of the G20 Summit, the Saudi Crown Prince is currently on a state visit to India and will preside over the signing of several key initiatives between the two countries.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, PM Modi said that several initiatives have been identified to take the partnership to the next level. 

"Our relationship will get a new direction and energy in today's meeting," he said describing Saudi Arabia as “one of the most important strategic partners of India. 

Ahead of the critical meeting, the Crown Prince was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan after which he told reporters, "I am very glad to be here in India. I want to congratulate India for the G20 Summit." 

On the sidelines of his state visit the Crown Prince also participated in the Leaders’ Summit of the bilateral Strategic Partnership Council, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India and the Saudi Ministry of Investment organized an India-Saudi Arabia Investment Forum 2023 in New Delhi.

The forum witnessed the attendance of more than 500 companies from India and Saudi Arabia. This was the first such formal investment symposium between India and Saudi Arabia and it comes as a follow-up to the announcement made, previously, by the Saudi Crown Prince to invest approximately $100 Billion in diverse sectors of the Indian economy.


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