To offset Pakistan’s influence, Indian PM Narendra Modi seek strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia

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To offset Pakistan’s influence, Indian PM Narendra Modi seek strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia

NEW DELHI: To offset Pakistan’s influence, Indian PM Narendra Modi seek strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday Saudi Arabia will invest in downstream oil and gas projects in India as part of a strategic partnership between the two countries, a move that would also help the world’s top oil exporter find a stable outlet for its crude.

Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Riyadh to participate in an investor summit, will meet King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later on Tuesday.

“From a purely buyer-seller relationship, we are now moving toward a closer strategic partnership that will include Saudi investments in downstream oil and gas projects,” Modi said in an interview to Arab News, according to a statement released by his office.

Saudi Aramco along with UAE’s national oil company ADNOC has signed a preliminary deal with Indian state-run companies for a 50pc stake in a planned 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) mega refinery on the country’s west coast.

The Indian government also plans to sell its entire 53.29pc stake in state-run refinery Bharat Petroleum Corp, at an estimated price of $10 billion.

Aramco is also eyeing a 20pc stake in the petrochemical and refining business of Reliance Industries in a multibillion-dollar deal.

During Modi’s visit, India will sign energy deals with Saudi Arabia including its participation in India’s strategic petroleum reserve.