India is strategic partner for Vision 2030: Saudi envoy

The Saudi ambassador was speaking at a meeting organised by Telangana state council of FICCI in Hyderabad.

HYDERABAD: Saud Al-Sati, ambassador of Saudi Arabia to India, on Monday said the last decade has been significant for ties between the two countries. “Saudi Arabia considers India a strategic partner for our Vision 2030. We want to be a part of India’s march to becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025,” he declared.

The Saudi ambassador was speaking at a meeting organised by Telangana state council of FICCI in Hyderabad.

The event focused on Indo-Saudi bilateral trade “in view of the new political bonhomie.”

It also intends to strengthen relations between the Telangana state and Saudi Arabia. However, the ambassador did not refer to Telangana state at all in hisspeech.

Al-Sati said the Saudi Arabian government was keen on attracting investments from Indian businesses.

In this regard, he referred to the many business-friendly measures taken by his government.

“There are so many things that attract Indians and others to Saudi Arabia. We have a great infrastructure in the form of ports and railways. We have streamlined many processes, making things easier for businesses. The cost of starting a business has come down. Now, it takes less than 48 hours to get an operating license,” he pointed out. The Saudi ambassador referred to relaxation of ownership restrictions on foreign businesses.

“We have created a residence scheme for qualified expats, so that global entrepreneurs, innovators and investors can live and work in our country. This will enable expats to gain a range of additional privileges alongside their residency,” he said.

Al-Sati noted that of the 267 new foreign investors who were issued licenses by the Saudi government in the first quarter of 2019, 30 were India-based companies.

He said India was an important market for Saudi Arabian tourism.

“We would like more Indians to visit us in the future. In fact, I personally check the daily data of tourist visas issued by the embassy,” he stated.

He disclosed that many of the 1.2 million annual tourists from the country visit Saudi for Haj and Umrah.

“We are also working on giving visa-on-arrival to Indian tourists,” he announced.

The Saudi Arabia ambassador said the Indian expat community in Saudi Arabia was more than 3 million, the largest in the country.

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