India's economy should grow more than seven per cent in the fiscal year 2009/10 and return to a nine per cent annual growth rate in two years, the country's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said yesterday.
"Despite the global economic slowdown, we hope to achieve growth rate of more than seven per cent in the current financial year," Singh told a business gathering in Saudi Arabia where he is on a state visit.
"We expect to get back to the growth level of about nine per cent per annum within two years," the Indian prime minister said.
India's economy grew by six per cent in the fourth quarter through December from a year earlier, the government said on Friday.
India's economy grew 6.7 per cent in 2008/09, slower than nine per cent or more in the previous three years.
Singh is on a visit to build economic ties with top Opec exporter Saudi Arabia.
"Our domestic saving rates are high and can support investment rates of as high as 38 per cent of our gross domestic product," he said.
Indian investment in Saudi Arabia stands at more than $2 billion (Dh7.34bn), covering 500 joint ventures, and India wants Saudi Arabia to invest in agriculture, energy, construction, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals, he said.
Singh yesterday met Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al Naimi during the visit that aims to bolster security ties and the kingdom's role as the biggest crude supplier to India.
Singh, the first Indian prime minister to visit Saudi Arabia in 28 years, said he planned to discuss with King Abdullah ways to promote "greater stability and security in the region", according to a Saudi newspaper interview cited by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Saudi Arabia has increased exports to India seven-fold between 2000 and 2008 and now supplies nearly a quarter of the south Asian nation's oil needs, according to Banque Saudi Fransi.
"As India's largest supplier of crude oil, Saudi Arabia is favourably positioned to benefit from burgeoning demand for energy in Asia's third-largest economy," John Sfakianakis, Chief Economist at the Riyadh-based bank, said in an e-mailed commentary. (Agencies)
Saudi to raise crude supplies
Saudi Arabia is willing to increase crude supplies to India to 40 million tonnes from current about 25.5 million tonnes to meet rising energy needs of the south Asian country, the Indian Government said.
"India [is looking] for [the] doubling of crude oil supply by Saudi Arabia," the Indian Government said in a statement after Indian Oil Minister Murli Deora met his Saudi counterpart Ali Al Naimi in Riyadh.
"India also indicated sourcing heavier crude from Saudi Arabia," the statement said without giving a time frame for the increase in Saudi crude supplies to India. (Reuters)
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