RIYADH: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is on a visit to Saudi Arabia, said Saturday that despite the challenges posed by the Ukraine crisis, India is confident that it will be the fastest-growing major economy in the world this year with at least 7 per cent growth. Noting the world is facing many fallouts of the Ukraine crisis such as rising oil prices, Jaishankar while addressing the Indian diaspora in Riyadh said, "We are very confident that India will be the fastest growing major economy in the world this year. We will get at least 7 per cent growth."
Jaishankar arrived is on a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia starting Saturday, his first trip to the Kingdom as India's External Affairs Minister. During his address to the Indian diaspora, Jaishankar highlighted that India has made powerful efforts to actually grow its economy and to move towards becoming a higher-income country.
"A lot of this required a vision, prudent management of our fiscal resources. It has required policies which made it easier for banks to lend .. to make it easier for small and medium companies to get lending, for self-employed people to get lending." He said that India thinks about the ways in which it can change its credit, banking, education and labor policy. "Many big reforms have taken place and we can see the result of that in two very interesting developments. In the year ending 31 March, 2021 we have posted the highest export that we have ever done. Our total exports were 670 billion USD. We had to trade in goods for 400 billion USD."
Jaishankar stressed that the idea of India as a trading power has become credible today. The External Affairs Minister said that when he holds the meeting, his Saudi counterpart will be meeting "the foreign minister of the fifth largest economy, the foreign minister of a country that not only responded to the COVID challenge but also come out of it very strongly.. one whose digital infrastructure capabilities such as health infra has grown in this period and a country whose ability to take care of its people abroad has also been demonstrated."
During the visit, the external affairs minister will co-chair the inaugural Ministerial Meeting of the Committee on Political, Security, Social and Cultural Cooperation (PSSC), established under the framework of the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council, with his Saudi counterpart Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud. "The two Ministers will undertake a comprehensive review of the entire bilateral relationship and will discuss the progress under the four Joint Working Groups of the PSSC Committee, namely Political & Consular; Legal and Security; Social and Cultural and Joint Committee on Defence Cooperation," the MEA said.
The meetings of these Groups and Senior Officials (at the Secretary level) have been held over the past few months, the release added. "Both sides will also discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest including their cooperation at the United Nations, Group of Twenty (G20) and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)," the MEA said.
During the visit, Jaishankar will also meet other Saudi dignitaries as well as the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf. Both sides will review the bilateral relations and discuss ways to enhance them. The minister will also interact with the Indian community in Saudi Arabia.
India-Saudi Arabia relations have strengthened considerably over the past few years including in political, security, energy, trade, investment, health, food security, cultural and defence fields.The top leadership of both countries remained in close touch even during the Covid-19 pandemic.