Saudi Arabia offers incentives to Indian pharma industryMay 9th, 2012 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) A high-level parliamentary delegation from Saudi Arabia currently on a visit to India Wednesday met Vice President Hamid Ansari and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and discussed trade and collaborative ties, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector and sought a “base” for it in their country to make “affordable medicines”.
The delegation led by Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sheikh, speaker of the Majlis Ash Shura (Consultative Council) of Saudi Arabia, called on Azad to share Indian experience and innovations in health care services.
The delegation that arrived here Monday for a three-day visit also discussed ways to expand ties in the health sector.
Sheikh told Azad his country that imports about $5 billion worth of pharmaceuticals was keen “to extend the incentives given by their government to the Indian pharma industry and set up base in Saudi Arabia with the objective of producing affordable medicines to meet local and regional needs”, according to a statement from the health ministry.
They met the vice president at his residence.
Ansari, who is also the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian parliament and has served as the Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia when he was in the foreign service, hosted a lunch for the guests as the two sides compared different parliamentary practices and pledged to make India-Saudi ties stronger.
The trade ties between the two nations has seen three-fold increase in the last five years with Saudi Arabia being the fourth largest trade partner of India. Bilateral trade between the two countries was $25 billion in 2010-11.
The import of crude oil by India forms a major component of bilateral trade with Saudi Arabia being Indi’’s largest supplier of crude oil. Almost one-fifth of India’s crude oil needs are fulfilled by Saudi Arabia.
Besides, Saudi Arabia is home to almost 1.8 million-strong Indians - the largest expatriate community in the kingdom - including a huge number of doctors and nurses.
The delegation Tuesday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar in Parliament House. Meira Kumar took them around parliament and explained them the functioning of Indian legislatures.
They also met Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha and opposition leader Nejma Heptullah of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Earlier they met Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed and his ministerial colleague Preneet Kaur.
Manmohan Singh visited the Shura Consultative Council in 2010 and addressed it.
During the prime ministe’s visit, India and Saudi Arabia signed 10 bilateral agreements and issued a Riyadh Declaration for deepening their relationship.
The delegation returns to Riyadh Thursday.
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Tags: ash shura, bilateral trade, collaborative ties, consultative council, expatriate community, ghulam nabi azad, hamid ansari, health care services, health ministry, indian ambassador, indian experience, indian pharma industry, parliamentary delegation, parliamentary practices, pharmaceutical sector, rajya sabha, saudi arabia, sheikh abdullah, trade ties, upper house of indian parliament