New Delhi, Jan 5 : Saudi Arabia was Thursday urged to invest in India's infrastructure sector and further boost economic engagements between the two countries.
"We look forward to Saudi investment for development of our infrastructure and in other sectors," Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said during a meeting with a visiting Saudi business delegation.
Addressing the 9th India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission meeting, the finance minister said: “India needs an investment of close to a trillion dollars in the next five to seven years to build and expand its existing infrastructure to be able to sustain a GDP growth rate of 8 to 9 percent.”
Mukherjee emphasised on the need for giving priority to the proposed $750-million joint fund to be set up on cooperation.
“The proposed India-Saudi Arabia investment fund of $750 million to be jointly set up by Public Investment Fund, Saudi Arabia and a counterpart Indian agency needs to be given high priority as it is mutually beneficial,” he said.
The finance minister also urged Saudi Arabia to assist India in meeting its growing energy demands.
“The rapidly expanding Indian economy has a growing requirement of crude oil to sustain its development momentum. We hope that Saudi Arabia will be able to assist India in meeting its energy security needs in the years to come,” he said.
Saudi Arabian Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfeeq bin Fouzan Al Rabiah, who is leading a 35-member business delegation to India, also emphasised on the need for strengthening business ties with India.
India-Saudi Arabia bilateral trade has increased five times in the last 10 years and was recorded at $25.61 billion in 2010-11. The trade balance is heavily in favour of Saudi Arabia as India imports a huge amount of oil and petrochemical products.
In 2010-11 India's exports to Saudi Arabia were worth $5.22 billion while imports were worth $20.38 billion. India imports almost 23 percent of its crude oil requirements from Saudi Arabia.