Saudi Arabia Says Investment Plans in India 'On Track' Even as Aramco's Net Profit Falls 21%
File photo of Saudi Ambassador Dr Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati. (Image: PTI)
Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to India Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati said the Kingdom’s investments in India will not be affected despite a fall in Aramco's profits. In an interview with The Hindu, the envoy said that Saudi Arabia’s plans concerning the investments in India “are on track” and added that meetings of ministerial committees regarding investment, energy, trade, political and security cooperation would be called soon.
“India is one of the fastest growing economies today and also one of the largest. We will continue to invest in India as our strategic partnership continues to deepen in all sectors,” Sati was quoted as saying.
In March, Saudi Aramco had reported a 20.6 per cent drop in its net profit for 2019 due to low oil prices and production levels. The energy giant posted net profits of $88.2 billion last year compared to $111.1 billion in 2018, the company said in the statement to the Saudi Stock Market.
On the issue of huge retrenchments in Saudi Arabia in view of the crashing revenues and the possibility of Indian migrants losing their jobs, Sati said that though the country is focusing its efforts on fighting Covid-19, efforts are also being undertaken to ensure that people don’t lose their jobs.
“It should be noted though, that even in this environment the Kingdom did not announce any intentions to delay any projects. Activities will resume to what they were before the pandemic hit,” Sati said.
He added that this would be done throughout all economic sectors as the condition stabilises and the markets slowly open.
On the involvement of Indian medical teams in managing the coronavirus situation in Saudi Arabia, Sati said that is a huge number of expatriates residing in Saudi Arabia, which also includes about three million Indians and added that the Kingdom is offering coronavirus treatment free of cost to all residents in the country, even those who are living illegally.
“As for the Indian medical professionals, some of them were on leave when the Covid pandemic hit. We have been working closely with the government of India to ensure that they are able to return to Saudi Arabia,” he told The Hindu.
He added that there is a continuation of the medical exports from India to the Kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports has also decided to extend the validity of exit and return visas that expire between February 25 and May 24, 2020, at no charge. The extension will continue for an additional three months for them,” Sati added.