Syrian President to visit India from June 17-21

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New Delhi, Jun 14 (UNI) India and Syria will sign five agreements, including on Avoidance of Double Taxation, to promote trade and investment and on agricultural cooperation during the three-day State visit of President Bashar al-Assad here from June 17.

The Syrian President who will be in India from June 17-21, will be accompanied by a high-powered delegation including Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, Minister for Trade and Economy Amer Husni Lutfi and Minister for Telecommunication and Technology Emad Sabouni.

He will meet President Pratibha Patil and hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Officials said the talks with the Prime Minister are likely to mainly focus on energy cooperation and West Asia situation.

Vice President Hamid Ansari, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of Opposition L K Advani and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia will call on the visiting dignitary.

President Pratibha Patil will host a State Banquet in honour of the Syrian leader.

The two countries will sign an Agreement for Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and a Work Plan under Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors for 2008-2009, the External Affairs Ministry said today.

The Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement aims at avoiding and reducing the burden of double taxation on the same tax payer in the two countries.

The Agreements are also expected to stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services from India to Syria and vice versa, while providing tax stability to the residents of both the nations.

Dr Bashar al-Assad will visit the National Informatics Centre (NIC) in the capital.

He will also travel to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and later leave for Bangalore where he will visit the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and information technology and bio-technology establishments.

Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur will host a dinner in his honour.

Officials said the Syrian President will hold talks with Indian leaders on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.

Cooperation in energy sector is liklely to dominate the discussions. Syria has agreed to consider India's request for allocating blocks on preferential basis on a mutually -beneficial relationship.

UNI RB RN1815

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