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Space sector fdi: Looking at further easing FDI norms in space sector: DPIIT secretary Rajesh Kumar Singh

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New Delhi: The government is looking at further easing foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in the space sector to attract overseas players, a top official said on Monday. Secretary in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Rajesh Kumar Singh said that huge scope is there for Saudi Arabian companies to invest in India in different sectors such as aviation, pharma, bulk drugs, renewable energy, food processing and agrti-tech.

“There is tremendous scope for collaboration… such as in artificial intelligence, robotics, cyber security, automation and space, where we are looking to further liberalise our foreign direct investment norms to bring in private sector and foreign investment in our space sector,” Singh said at the India-Saudi Arabia investment forum meet here.

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

He added 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 there is also tremendous scope for collaboration between Saudi Arabian military industry and make in India campaign, which can enable “us to work” on joint collaboration on defence projects of mutual interest.

The secretary 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 USD 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… we can work in energy sector,” 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.

India is recognised as the pharmaceutical capital of the world.

Joint Secretary in the DPIIT Sanjiv said: “Huge opportunities are there between India and Saudi Arabia to boost trade and investments.”

Speaking at the event, Badr AlBadr, Deputy Minister of Investors Outreach, Ministry of Investment, Saudi Arabia, said that the ministry and Invest India has 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 said.

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