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Saudis eye projects in India

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Saudi businessmen have expressed their desire to invest in India’s lucrative projects and hoped New Delhi would sanction interest-free Islamic finance system like other secular states to accelerate inclusive growth and woo funds from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, Arab News reported.

SAUDI ARABIA-JEDDAH-US DEFENSE SECRETARY-VISIT“Many Saudis are interested to invest in India being one of the fast growing Asian economies with a large population and it’s the duty of Indian missions in the Kingdom to mobilize such investments,” said Hamad S. Al-Battal, director of a business consultancy firm and chairman of Seagulls Group. Al-Battal emphasized the historic relations between India and Gulf countries.

“The introduction of Islamic finance in India will boost trade and economic ties between the two sides,” Al-Battal told Arab News. He expressed his willingness to invest in a Buffalo meat project in Bihar, promoted by ABZ Agro Foods. “I am optimistic about the success of such investment projects. It will help us to test the market and its success will encourage us to invest in other projects in India,” he added. Al-Battal was talking to Arab News following a presentation on the meat project at Seagulls Sea View Restaurant on the Corniche. Professor Abdul Aziz Al-Sharief of King Abdulaziz University emphasized the need to create more awareness about the benefits of Islamic banking and finance among Muslims as well as non-Muslims. “Many Muslims are ignorant about this system.

We have to conduct more studies and research to make it more attractive to the public and do proper marketing,” he told Arab News. Al-Sharief called for a massive media campaign to remove the misconceptions about Islamic finance in India.

“Most people have expressed their reservations because of their ignorance about the system. Based on profit sharing, the system will benefit both borrowers and lenders. It’s an ideal system for India and will contribute immensely to the country’s poverty alleviation endeavors,” he added. Ameer Shah gave a presentation on the buffalo meat project, which seeks interest-free finance. He said 100 percent of the plant’s products could be exported to Saudi Arabia and other world markets. He estimated the investment project’s annual returns at 27 percent.

“The demand for Indian buffalo meat in international markets is increasing,” Shah said, adding that it achieved a growth rate of 27 percent during 2012-13. Speaking to Arab News, V.K. Abdul Aziz, secretary-general of the Indian Forum for Interest-Free Banking emphasized the need to implement such projects observing the existing Indian regulations. “If we succeed in presenting good role models of Islamic finance it would definitely change the public opinion and encourage the government to adopt Islamic banking principles in the near future.” A number of Saudi businessmen including Khaled Al-Amoudi, Faisal Al-Shareef, Saud Al-Ahmadi and Anas Abusulaiman attended the event organized by Al-Battal to promote the Bihar meat project.