Saudi Arabia's Minister of Energy made a remarkable revelation about PM Modi's efforts towards ensuring the well-being of consumers in India on Thursday while speaking to reporters on developments at the crucial OPEC+ meeting that is being held in Vienna, Austria at a time when global crude prices have fallen markedly in a short space of time.
Citing Narendra Modi's personal intervention over multiple conversations both in India and abroad, the Saudi minister said that the Prime Minister of India put forth "very very strong" views in defence and for the protection of the Indian consumer, against global crude oil prices soaring.
Answering a question about US President Donald Trump's warnings to OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) against cutting oil production and thereby causing prices to increase again, Al-Falih, who is also the Chairman of state-owned Saudi Aramco -- the world's largest oil producing company -- drew an equivalence between the US and India, and replied citing PM Modi:
"Well, President Trump is the President of the largest consuming country in the globe: 21 million (barrels), I believe, or thereabouts. That's 20% of global markets if not more. And the consumer in the US, just like the consumer in France, just like the consumer in India, just like the consumer in Saudi Arabia, wants affordable energy."
"So, he (Trump) has every right to wish for affordability for the citizens of the United States and he is very vocal using his favourite communication tool which is Twitter and we hear him and we take his views seriously."
Hopefully OPEC will be keeping oil flows as is, not restricted. The World does not want to see, or need, higher oil prices!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 5, 2018
"But we also take the views of Prime Minister Modi who is equally vocal. We just met with him in Buenos Aires and privately he made those points of view very, very strongly that he does care for Indian consumers. I have seen him 3 times in India at various energy events in India where he was also very vocal."
"So, the consumer is a part of our deliberation even when they are not physically with us in the room and the fact that President Trump tweets about it and reminds us, I think, is a healthy thing and we take it as one input factor but at the end of the day our most important guiding principle is to bring supply and demand into balance and we don't think the US will benefit from an over-supply market for an extended period of time where investment flows stop and the fantastic growth in US shale is brought to a halt in the way it happened in 2015-2016."
Watch what he said to Bloomberg TV here -
"I don't need permission from any foreign government to cut," says Saudi Arabia's Al-Falih at OPEC+ meetings https://t.co/A1drq7jz24pic.twitter.com/mDBE6cshbK— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) December 6, 2018
The drop in oil prices over the last two months has brought tremendous relief to Indian consumers, bringing down the fuel prices from historic highs. India is one of the world's largest importers of crude oil.
Al-Falih's impromptu revelation about PM Modi's 'very vocal' points also come as a sharp response to Indian opposition parties which had attacked the Modi government ceaselessly and even tried to force numerous 'Bharat Bandhs' during the months of September and October when fuel rates were high and the Rupee had weakened against the Dollar -- both of which have since reversed to more manageable levels.