New Delhi, Feb.8 (ANI): Minister of State for External Affairs Dr. Shashi Tharoor on Monday called for putting in place a framework for cooperation between India and the Arab states, which he said is constantly deepening and widening.
"While the pace of progress could be faster, a critical mass has already developed to take us into a qualitatively upgraded relationship. There are many dimensions to Indo-Arab relations, some very old and some very new. I am sure this conclave (Second India-Arab Investment Projects Conclave), with its emphasis on our contemporary economic relations, will help chart the way forward and give more substance to our relations in the future," Dr.Tharoor said in a keynote address here.
Tharoor said India and the Arab world share a close and historical relationship marked by similar values. He described the association as a genuine partnership having an all-endeavouring synergy, which had the potential for being strengthened further.
"The Arab world constitutes an integral part of India's extended neighborhood and is a region of critical importance to India in political, strategic, security and economic terms. India-Arab relations are a subject close to my heart. In my professional and personal endeavours I have had the opportunity to deal with many Arab people and I have come away very impressed not only with their intrinsic abilities and entrepreneurial skills but also with their deep sense of appreciation of the historic, cultural and civilizational ties that bind India and the Arab countries. These go back well before any of our nations emerged as modern nation states," the minister said.
He said links between India and the Arab world were historical in nature, spanning several centuries.
"The Arab world has left an indelible imprint on India's history, on our culture and on our civilization. As a student of history I can argue with confidence that the past has built us an excellent platform for the future," he added.
"The bedrock of goodwill between our two regions provides the foundation to build a strong edifice of substantial contemporary relations. We are keen to enhance our partnership with the Arab world, which has been playing an important role in shaping our political, economic, defence and security policies at both the regional and global level," Tharoor said.
"Our traditional bonds have been revitalized in recent years. For India, the Arab world is an important source of our energy security and is home to more than five million Indians. The Arab world's rich resources and the growing demands of India's rapidly expanding economy make us natural partners. It is not surprising to note, for instance, that that the number of flights to the Gulf region from here far exceeds the total number of flights from India to the rest of the world," he said.
"Our trade with Arab countries is booming. We will take a closer look at the trade figures later during the Ministerial panel discussion, but it is clear that both in the foreign and in the rade ministries of our countries we need to identify and focus our work on multipliers and leverages. Another area of focus could be to work on mechanisms to institutionalize the welfare of the Indian expatriate workforce in the Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf region. In today's era of globalization we have to take into account the changing world economic scenario and to equip ourselves appropriately.We are keen to enhance our engagement," Tharoor concluded. (ANI)