An official from the Indian foreign ministry said on Monday that India will be connected by railway as part of a multilateral Middle East-South Asia rail and ports corridor that was launched on the sidelines of a G20 conference over the weekend.
With the United States, Saudi Arabia, India, the European Union (EU), and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as participants, the international rail and port agreement will connect the Middle East to South Asia and is seen as a rival to China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative.
India and Saudi Arabia also addressed the potential of trading in local currencies and advancing the discussions for a free trade deal between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which Saudi Arabia is a member, during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s state visit to New Delhi on Monday.
The two nations inked eight agreements on Monday, according to Ausaf Sayeed, a secretary in the foreign ministry, including a deal to transform their hydrocarbon energy collaboration into a comprehensive energy partnership for renewable, petroleum, and strategic reserves.
India receives a significant amount of petroleum exports from Saudi Arabia.
According to Sayeed, they also decided to establish a combined task force for a $100 billion Saudi investment, of which half is designated for a postponed refinery project along India’s western coast.
Sayeed stated that better roads, ports, railroads, power, gas, and optical fibre networks would all be a part of the connectivity between India and the Gulf nations.
The Indian president and the Saudi crown prince discussed cooperation in space, semiconductors, and joint production of weapons during their earlier-in-the-day talks.