On this auspicious occasion of the 71st Independence Day of India, I have the pleasure to convey my warm greetings and felicitations to all my fellow citizens in Saudi Arabia.
I also avail of this opportunity to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to King Salman and his government for their continued support and cooperation.
In the past 70 years, India has emerged as the World’s largest democracy, making great strides in the fields of industry, science and technology, IT, space technology, medicine, well–being etc.
Embracing the green, white and blue revolutions to engineer a sound agro sector base, India has transformed from an agricultural economy to a service oriented economy, with a self-reliant manufacturing base.
Our strong democratic institutions, resilient economy, industrial growth, scientific and technological achievements and incredible socio-cultural diversity are testimony to the fact that we have been steadily marching ahead to the noble goals set by our leaders seven decades ago.
The last few years have seen India embark upon implementing radical economic reforms toward ease of doing business, and introducing investor-friendly changes in its foreign direct investment (FDI) policy.
A number of major flagship initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Swatchh Bharat, Smart Cities, and Startupindia, among others, are offering a whole lot of opportunities to the investors.
In a sweeping economic reform, the biggest in the history of the country, India replaced last month its web of multiple central and state taxes with the single Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is expected to minimize the complexities and increase tax revenues manifold, to fuel the economic growth.
These initiatives, coupled with reform programs will propel the Indian economy to greater heights.
This year, we are also commemorating the 75th anniversary of the “Quit India Movement,” which commenced in 1942.
On this occasion, I would reiterate the prime minister’s pledge to achieve (Sankalp se Siddhi).
Let us all take a pledge to free our country from poverty, corruption, communalism, casteism and terrorism, and create a ‘New India’ by 2022.
We attach great priority to our friendly relations with Saudi Arabia.
Our traditionally close ties are anchored in shared interests based on centuries-old economic and socio-cultural ties and vibrant people to people contacts.
Our leadership has been working closely with the Saudi leadership toward further deepening our multifaceted ties for the common benefit of our two countries.
Economic ties constitute an important element of the India-Saudi Arabia Partnership.
Saudi Arabia plays an important role in India’s energy security as around 19 percent of our oil imports come from Saudi Arabia. Similarly, Saudi Arabia is one of the largest suppliers of LPG to India. Saudi Arabia is our fourth largest trade partner.
Saudi Arabia is the eighth largest market in the world for Indian exports and is destination to more than 2.44 percent of India’s global exports. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is the source of 5.34 percent of India’s global imports.
Indian IT majors like TCS, WIPRO, Tech Mahindra are engaged actively with Saudi Aramco and main Saudi Ministries such as Energy, Education, Finance, Water etc.
These companies are contributing in a big way in imparting training to Saudi youth especially women, in line with Vision 2030 objectives.
TCS’s all-female Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Service Center in Saudi Arabia aims to provide employment opportunities to up to 3,000 women in three years.
Wipro Arabia Limited, a subsidiary of Wipro Limited, Saudi Aramco and Princess Nourah University (PNU), Riyadh jointly established Kingdom’s first Women Business Park (WBP), which is aimed at creating nearly 21,000 jobs for Saudi women in 10 years.
Dedicated to working women, WBP is a first project of its kind aimed at providing knowledge-based employment for women in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is home to over 3 million-strong Indian community, the largest Indian passport-holders abroad.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that the contribution made by the Indians in the development of Saudi Arabia is well-acknowledged and appreciated by the Saudi leadership as well as its people.
I express my sincere gratitude to the Kingdom for hosting this large Indian community and also for the excellent services provided by the Saudi authorities to Hajj and Umrah pilgrims from India.
I also express my deep sense of thanks to the Saudi authorities for their cooperation during the four-month long amnesty enabling the undocumented workers to the leave the Kingdom without difficulties.
I take this opportunity, once again, to greet my fellow citizens in Saudi Arabia on this occasion of the 71st Independence Day of India.