[Editorial Analysis] Heralding a new dawn

Mains Paper 2: International Relations

Prelims level: MENA

Mains level: Important bilateral groupings

Context

• The Saudi citizen has become the focal point for sustainable development with massive projects directed towards building a vibrant society, a thriving economy and an ambitious nation.

• The entire foundation of our Kingdom’s economy is being transformed towards a post-oil age with the aim of attracting $427 billion in private investments over the next decade to diversify the economy and create 1.6 million new jobs through the National Industrial Development and Logistics Programme.

Powered by reforms

• According to World Bank’s ‘Doing Business 2018’ report, Saudi Arabia has instituted the largest number of business reforms among countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region as of July 2017.

• With its platform Meras, starting a business in the Kingdom now requires only one step and one day!

• The single-window platform Fasah has also been launched for customs clearance and import and export procedures.

• The ‘Doing Business 2019’ report has ranked Saudi Arabia as the fourth-largest reformer within the G20.

• In 2018, Saudi Arabia saw foreign direct investment rise by 127% year-on-year. Global confidence in Saudi Arabia’s ascent has further solidified with the International Monetary Fund forecasting increased growth for Saudi Arabia in July 2018.

Goals made by both countries

• By 2030, the Kingdom intends to have at least five Saudi universities among the top 200 in international rankings.
• Education reforms have also led to an increase in women’s literacy and participation in the workforce.

• Saudi Arabia remains committed to the social, economic and political stability of the region and will continue playing a leading role in countering terrorism and establishing peace as demonstrated by the Kingdom’s contribution towards the historic peace accord signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea in Riyadh in 2018.

• We continue to stand by our Yemeni brothers and support the Palestinian cause. Our dream is of a peaceful, progressive and a prosperous world.

• India and Saudi Arabia have more opportunities today to tap into than ever before.

• The bilateral trade for 2017-18, in excess of $27 billion, will accelerate as Saudi Arabia and India engage in a host of new areas such as information and communications technology (ICT), health care, defence, biotechnology, education and infrastructure among others.
• India is one of the top countries on the Kingdom’s preferred list with great potential for investment in organic and food processing industries.

Expanding cooperation

• The energy partnership between the two countries is also finding new grounds.

• As of October 2018, Saudi Aramco has nearly $2 billion in material-service sourcing with Indian companies, and investing in India’s value chain from oil supply, marketing and refining to petrochemicals and lubricants is a key part of its global downstream strategy.

• The $44 billion integrated refinery and petrochemicals complex at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, being jointly developed by Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and a consortium of Indian public sector units (PSUs) consisting of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL), is yet another milestone.

Conclusion

• As formidable economies of MENA and Asia, Saudi Arabia and India have a historic opportunity to collaborate in shaping the future of our regions, for a better tomorrow full of prosperity and promise.

• Combining our respective strengths will pave the way for endless possibilities and accomplishments for the benefit of our two peoples and the region.

• The forthcoming state visit of the Crown Prince to India presents another historic opportunity to expand collaboration between our two friendly nations.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) Consider the following statements

1. It is a diplomatic arrangement between India and U.S.

2. It is going to be held in July in which Indian External Affairs and Defence Ministry will held meeting with their U.S counterparts.

3. It is expected to further cement the India-U.S. engagements.

4. It key focus areas will be concluding COMCASA and BECA pacts.

Choose the correct statement(s) from the above

A. 1 only

B. 2 and 4only

C. 2 and 3 only

D. All of the above

Answer: D

Mains Questions:

Q.1) India and Saudi Arabia are poised to dramatically deepen the bilateral relationship. Comment.

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