Saudis keen to invest in Indian food sector: Envoy

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Bengaluru, Dec 4 (IANS) Saudi Arabia was keen to invest in the Indian food sector as India was one of the largest exporters of grains and vegetables to the desert kingdom, its ambassador to India Saud bin Mohammed Al-Sati said on Tuesday.

“We are looking to invest in the Indian food sector, particularly in packaging, storage and transportation, as India is one of the largest exporters of food grains and vegetables to our kingdom,” Sati told an interactive session with India Inc here.

In view of the 30 per cent wastage in the Indian farm sector due to bottlenecks in storage, packaging and transportation, the envoy said investment by Saudi Arabia would benefit both the countries.

Projecting a 10 per cent increase in bilateral trade between the two countries this fiscal (2018-19) from $27.5 billion last fiscal (2017-18), Sati said there was immense scope to boost it further by investing in agriculture, chemicals, fertilizers and tourism.

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“There is a great potential for tourism as we are reducing our dependency on petroleum oil. We are expecting about 8 lakh Indians to visit our country this year as against 5 lakh last year,” said the ambassador.

Calling upon India Inc to explore business opportunities in his country, the envoy told the Karnataka members of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) apex body to invest in the education and IT sectors to benefit the 3 million Indian expats in the kingdom.

Hydrolines Chief Executive R.P. Nair said IT, IT-enabled services, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, manufacturing, power, energy, transport and logistics, food processing and beverage, infrastructure and construction, plastics and polymers chemicals and automotive were the key sectors for trade between the two countries.

“As relations between the two countries were robust and vibrant, there is huge potential to expand the cooperation in unexplored areas. India can be a strong partner in Saudi Arabia’s expansion process,” added Nair.

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Earlier, Sati called on Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy at the state Secretariat in the city centre along with former Minister and Congress legislator Roshan Baig.

–IANS

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