New Delhi, June 19 : President Bashar al-Assad today said that Syria recognises importance of India and the role played by it for the Arab cause.
Syria's president on an official visit to India has emphasized the need for peace in the volatile Middle East region. His visit, the first by a Syrian president in three decades, aims at boosting trade and economic ties with India.
Assad said in a media briefing here that he was glad to visit India, and added that there is a lot of scope for India and Syria to improve bilateral relations.
"The Trade between India and Syria is worth 5billion dollars, which can be pushed forward," the Syrian President said.
Asad invited India to explore opportunities for joint ventures in major areas like infrastructure development, energy production, mineral processing as well as Information Technology (IT) education and training opportunities.
Supporting India's bid for permenent seat in the UN Security Council, Assad said that considering the population and position of India in the world, New Delhi has a rightful place in a reconstituted UNSC.
Replying to a question, he said that Syria never criticised India on the violation of the human rights in the OIC release.
Assad said that Syria is against terrorism, and urged India and Pakistan to solve the Kashmir issue directly through talks.
He pointed out that India and Syria are in similar surroundings with conflict going on in their neighbourhood.
Commenting on the situation in Iraq, Assad said there is a conflict going on in Iraq and no vision is emerging to solve the situation.
The Syrian President expressed hope that New Delhi, which has built close ties with Israel in the past decade, will play a proactive role in peace negotiations in the Middle East.
Questioned about the ongoing stand off between US and Iran over nuclear issue, Assad said Teheran has a right to have a peaceful nuclear energy programme as per international norms.
He said that the US and other European countries should directly discuss with Iran its on going nuclear energy programme.
Earlier, India and Syria signed three agreements to stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between the two countries.