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Saudi Arabia’s Prince will announce investments during visit to India and Pakistan

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New Delhi. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is expected to announce investments in energy and infrastructure during a visit to India and Pakistan in coming days as part of his efforts to wean the Saudi economy off oil exports.

He is also expected to visit China, Malaysia and Indonesia during a tour that will be his first through the region since the storm over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Prince Mohammed is expected to sign agreements, mostly linked to a refinery and the power sector, during the trip to Pakistan this weekend, Pakistani officials said.

The memorandums of understanding will include renewable energy projects and investments in petrochemicals and mineral resources, Saudi state news agency SPA said.

The prince is expected in New Delhi next week, along with leading Saudi businessmen, at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was among a handful of leaders who attended an investment conference in Saudi Arabia in October, an event boycotted by many companies and world leaders in protest over Khashoggi’s killing.

India’s Modi met the prince in November, when they were both in Argentina for a Group of 20 summit. Saudi Arabia is India’s top supplier of crude oil but the two countries have expanded ties beyond energy, and their governments have agreed to build a strategic partnership, the foreign ministry said.

In a statement, it cited cooperation in areas including energy security, trade and investment, infrastructure, defence and security.

India is expecting Prince Mohammed to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways, an Indian official said.

Saudi state media said Saudi officials will discuss an investment in NIIF.

Saudi Arabia has also flagged a desire to invest in India’s farm sector, with products to be exported to Saudi, another official at the trade ministry said.

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