Saudi Arabia Signs Framework Deal to become 73rd member to do so

Saudi Arabia's joining should be a major push to the ISA, considering its massive plans to invest in renewables

During the visit of Prince Mohammed Bib Salman to India, Saudi Arabia signed the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and became the 73rd country to join the India-led renewable energy organization. The total tally of the alliance now stands at 122 members. The framework agreement is effectively the last step before ratification by a member country. In the case of Saudi Arabia, which is effectively a monarchy run by MBS, the framework agreement signing is key accordingly.

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The signing of the agreement took place after a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who arrive on a state visit to India on Tuesday night. In the two-day visit, India and Saudi Arabia signed five memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements. These deals will cover the investment, tourism, housing, and information and broadcasting sectors.

In the delegation-level talks, the two sides discussed key areas of mutual interest such as trade and investment, renewable energy, defense, nuclear and space, civil aviation, counter-terrorism, community welfare as well as regional challenges.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had earlier said that Riyadh’s decision to join the alliance, which was launched by PM Modi at the India Africa Summit ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

Indian companies such as Larsen & Toubro and Shapoorji Pallonji, both Bombay-headquartered firms, have already expressed an interest in building Saudi Arabian gigaprojects like Neom. The 500-billion-dollar project is kingdom’s futuristic mega smart city which has piqued interest from Uber, Softbank and Facebook.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman said he saw investment opportunities of more than $100 billion in India over the next two years, especially in Petrochemicals and energy storage.

In November last year, India opened the ISA membership to all UN countries and ISA and European union entered into an agreement. The ISA has slowly become a Renewable energy arena for countries and players who are looking to invest in solar energy all around the world or help countries develop their RE segment through the transfer of technology and expertise.

Picture credit: MEA twitter

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