New Delhi, June 18 : Syrian President Bashar al-Assad today said that Syria recognizes the increasing importance of India in world politics and looks forward to India's active participation in the Middle East peace process.
President al-Assad said that his visit would herald a new beginning to the Indo-Syria relations.
"We are living in a turbulent region and India always supported our causes. We expected India to play a first of role in the peace process in the Middle East. We expect to have cooperation on many different issues, fight terrorism, having more trade between Syria and India," he added.
President al-Assad was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where he was received by President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh.
Later, President al-Assad met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Syrian President is slated to meet Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today and both countries are expected to sign agreements.
The two sides will sign agreements for Avoidance of the Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and a Work Plan under Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture and Allied Sectors for 2008-09.
During the talks, the two sides will hold discussion on a whole range of bilateral issues with a focus on enhancing trade and economic ties.
On the same day, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Leader of Opposition L K Advani will call on the visiting dignitary.
In the evening, President al-Assad will meet his Indian counterpart Pratibha Patil.
On Thursday, Al-Assad will leave for Bangalore. He is also scheduled to travel to Agra.
Al-Assad, who is on a five-day visit, is accompanied by his wife Asma al-Assad and a high-level delegation, including Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, Minister of Economy and Trade Amer Husni Lutfi, Minister of Telecommunication and Technology Emad Sabouni and other senior officials.