Indian PM eyes further energy cooperation with "reliable" Saudi

09:51, March 01, 2010      

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Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday said his country seeks further energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia, terming the Gulf kingdom as "reliable partner" in meeting his country's energy needs.

"We believe that conditions are ripe for moving beyond a traditional buyer-seller relationship to a comprehensive energy partnership," Singh said during a meeting with the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh.

Singh, who is on the second day of a historic visit to the Saudi capital, said the Indian companies were well-equipped to participate in upstream and downstream oil and gas sector projects in the oil-rich Arab country.

"We should also establish new partnerships in the area of new and renewable energy through sharing of clean technologies and joint collaborations," he said.

Singh's visit is the first by an Indian premier in 28 years to the Gulf kingdom, which is India's top crude oil supplier, amounting to 20 percent of the South Asian country's total needs.

"We deeply value Saudi Arabia's role as a reliable partner in meeting our energy needs," he said.

The Indian primer also invited Saudi investors and entrepreneurs to explore investment opportunities in his country, saying the steady growth of both countries' economies offered immense business opportunities.

Aiming to bolster bilateral trade which stood at 25 billion U.S. dollars in 2008 to 2009, Singh said areas of construction, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, health, agriculture, health, agriculture, energy, telecommunications, tourism and other service sectors could offer potential investment opportunities.

Also on Sunday, Singh met with Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah bin Ahmad Zainal and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali bin Ibrahim al-Naimi, before holding talks with King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz.

During the Indian premier's visit to Saudi Arabia, both sides are due to sign nine agreements, including an extradition treaty, a scientific cooperation protocol, and memorandums of understanding on cooperation in space sciences, information technology and services.

On Monday, Singh will deliver a speech at the Saudi Shoura Council, in which he will review his perspectives on Saudi-Indian ties.

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