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India, Saudi Arabia To Expedite Work On $50-Bn West Coast Refinery Project. Key MoUs Signed

During talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on Monday, India and Saudi Arabia agreed to expedite the USD 50 billion West Coast refinery project and identified energy, defence, semiconductor, and space as areas for increased cooperation, news agency PTI reported. At the first meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council, the two countries agreed to expand their current hydrocarbons relationship into a “comprehensive energy partnership” and signed eight agreements to boost cooperation in a variety of areas, including digitisation and investment.

“Both sides extended their full support to the early implementation of the West Coast refinery project, which is a trilateral cooperation between ARAMCO, ADNOC and Indian companies,” Ausaf Sayeed, secretary (overseas Indian affairs) in the External Affairs Ministry, was quoted by PTI in its report.

According to Sayeed, numerous sectors of collaboration such as energy, defence, security, education, technology, transportation, healthcare, tourism, and culture were highlighted during the two presidents’ conversations.

The two sides also discussed potential collaboration in the power grid, gas grid, optical grids, and fibre networks.

Following the conclusion of the G20 Summit, Bin Salman will pay a day-long State visit to India.

PM Modi and Saudi leader Salman co-chaired the inaugural meeting of the Strategic Partnership Council, which was formed in October 2019.

According to Sayeed, both Prime Minister Modi and Crown Prince Bin Salman have expressed their “full support” for the early construction of the West Coast refinery project, for which USD 50 billion has already been allocated.

“The two sides agreed to set up a joint task force to help in identifying and channelising the USD 100 billion investments which was promised by the Saudi side half of which was for the refinery,” he said.

The West Coast refinery project will be built in Maharashtra. The mega-refinery-complex-plus-petrochemicals project was initially announced in 2015.

The two parties also agreed to form a monitoring committee to guarantee that the refinery projects are completed in accordance with the plans given out by both parties.

Earlier, Bin Salman was given a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s forecourt. Before the Strategic Partnership Council meeting, the visiting leader and Modi met one-on-one. Modi also hosted a business lunch for Saudi King Salman.

The two sides praised the opening of the India-Middle East business corridor during the meeting.

“I am very glad to be here in India. I want to congratulate India for the G20 Summit,” Bin Salman informed media after the ceremonial welcome.

The Saudi leader stated that the Summit’s announcements will benefit the world.

“We will work together to create a great future for both the countries,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is one of India’s most important Middle Eastern strategic allies.

Overall, bilateral relations between the two nations have improved significantly in recent years.

The two sides have also been working to deepen their defence and security cooperation.

In December 2020, then-Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane visited Saudi Arabia for the first time as the leader of the 1.3 million-strong Army.

Since then, the two sides have exchanged a number of high-level military officers. 

India, Saudi Arabia Sign Key MoUs To Deepen Relations In Energy Sector, Promote Investments

According to an official announcement, India and Saudi Arabia struck an agreement on Monday to cooperate in the sphere of energy and develop bilateral investments.

“The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was signed in the national capital on September 10,” the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) was quoted by PTI in its report.

The agreement was signed by Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy and Power RK Singh and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Minister of Energy Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud, according to a statement.

The MoU states that India and Saudi Arabia would collaborate on renewable energy, energy efficiency, hydrogen, electricity, and grid interconnection between the two countries, petroleum, natural gas, strategic petroleum reserves, and energy security.

Furthermore, it aims to boost bilateral investment in renewable energy, electricity, hydrogen and storage, and oil and gas.

The Memorandum of Understanding also focuses on the circular economy and related solutions for mitigating the consequences of climate change, such as carbon collection, utilisation, and storage. In addition, the nations will collaborate to promote digital transformation, innovation, cyber-security, and artificial intelligence in the energy sector.

India and Saudi Arabia will endeavour to build meaningful ties between the two nations in order to localise materials, goods, and services relevant to all sectors of energy, supply chains, and technology, as well as improve collaboration with energy-specialized firms.

“The MoU will develop a stronger partnership between India and Saudi Arabia in the field of energy. The MoU will support India’s efforts for energy transition and transformation of the global energy system towards combating climate change,” the ministry said.















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