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India to further ease FDI norms in space sector to attract foreign players

The government is looking at further easing foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in the space sector to attract overseas players, Rajesh Singh, Secretary Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said on September 11.

“There is huge scope for Saudi Arabian companies to invest in India in different sectors such as aviation, pharma, bulk drugs, renewable energy, food processing and agrti-tech as well,” Singh said at the India-Saudi Arabia investment forum meet in New Delhi.

Further, he added that the collaboration can extend to technological boost such as in artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber security, automation and space, where we are looking to further liberalise our FDI norms.

Presently, FDI in space sector is allowed up to 100 percent in the area of satellites establishment and operations through government route only.

Singh said that several Saudi Arabian companies have invested in Indian wind and solar energy sectors.

“We look forward for collaboratively working with you,” he said adding that collaboration with Saudi Arabian military industry under the Make in India campaign can enable “us to work” on defence projects of mutual interest.

The secretary also sought investments in areas such as bulk drug parks and food processing sector.

As India is the home of several agro-tech startups, huge potential is there to increase collaboration, he added.

On trade front, he said that the bilateral trade between the two countries has reached USD 52.8 billion in 2022-23. India’s exports stood at USD 10.7 billion in the last fiscal as against USD 8.8 billion in 2021-22.

The bilateral trade was $43 billion in 2021-22.

“We have reached a stage where we can move beyond oil trade to new areas of engagement like food processing, tourism, renewable energy, health, entertainment etc,” Singh said.

Further, he added that India has already proven its might in outsourced services and can be the destination for Saudi companies looking for such opportunities.

Meanwhile, speaking at the event, Badr AlBadr, Deputy Minister of Investors Outreach, Ministry of Investment, Saudi Arabia, said that Saudi’s ministry and Invest India have signed a bilateral agreement to strengthen investment ties between the two countries.

It would give a comfort zone to investors and traders to do more and more business. He also said that opportunities for business are growing between the countries.

Despite challenges like Covid pandemic, food security challenges and geopolitical uncertainties, trade is growing between the two nations, he said, adding, “investment opportunities are exceptional in Saudi Arabia”.

“We have signed….47 MoUs and agreements B2B and B2G today,” he added. PTI

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