Aligarh, January 23: Saudi Arabia is keen to intensify bilateral ties with India with education being a priority, said Saudi Ambassador Saud Mohammad Al-Sati during his address at Aligarh Muslim University.
While addressing the University Polytechnic Wednesday, Al-Sati emphasised on close educational ties between the two countries. "The exchanges between the two countries in the field of education and culture have increased over the years, but they still have not reached their full potential and the Government of Saudi Arabia is keen to intensify the bilateral cooperation with India in educational field," he said.
Al-Sati said that bilateral economic and trade relations have registered remarkable growth in recent years. "Saudi Arabia is now the 4th largest trade partner of India, while Saudi is the 6th largest market in the world for Indian exports," he said.
He said two-way trade has touched almost $49 billion in 2013-14 and bilateral investments had also grown steadily. Saudi Arabia has been the largest source of crude oil to India for many years, meeting 20 percent of India's oil imports at present, he added.
The ambassador said it will be his endeavour to accelerate exchanges and collaboration between Saudi universities and Indian institutions in general and the AMU in particular.
While praising the Aligarh movement and the founder of AMU, Syed Ahmad Khan, the Saudi envoy said: "I would like to seize this opportunity to pay tributes to the founder of this great institution, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan."
While noting the contribution of AMU alumni in Saudi Arabia, he said: "AMU alumni have contributed to creating a very good image of this university among (the) Saudis, thanks to their hard work and professional excellence."
Earlier, AMU vice chancellor Zameer Uddin Shah said there was a strong work force of more than three million Indians working in Saudi Arabia, who were a major source of foreign exchange for India.