On Board Air India One, Nov 21 (ANI): President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Sunday said that she will use her state visits to the United Arab Emirates and Syria to project India as an investment-friendly destination and to enhance trade ties with the Gulf region.
President Patil's November 21-25 visit to the UAE will be her first State Visit to a Gulf State while her November 26-29 visit to Syria will be the first ever visit by an Indian President to that country.
Indians comprise the largest expatriate community in the UAE, numbering around 1.75 million. Remittances to India from the UAE in 2008-09 were about 12 billion dollars, accounting for a third of all money sent to India from the GCC countries.
"I am confident, reaffirm India's interest to strengthen ties with countries in these regions, which are a part of our extended neighbourhood," she told reporters on board Air India One.
"India has enjoyed historic, warm, friendly and multifaceted relations with the UAE. These relations stretch back over millennia and our civilisational links are well known," President Patil said.
The UAE is a significant trading and energy security partner, and bilateral trade was valued at 43.4 billion dollar in 2009-10. In 2009-10, the UAE had emerged as one of India's top export destination, accounting for 13.41 per cent of the country's total exports. The country is also among the top five suppliers of crude oil to India.
"I will also be interacting with the business community, both Indian and local, in the UAE. Our bilateral trade which stood at a modest figure of around 180 million dollar in the early seventies, is today valued at 43 billion dollar, which makes the UAE one of our leading trade partners," she said.
Talking about the possibilities of further expanding India's trade, President Patil said: "I will highlight the tremendous scope for investing in India's infrastructure. Our fast growing stable economy with its strong fundamentals makes India an attractive investment destination."
"The UAE is one of our leading suppliers of crude oil, playing an important role in the energy security of India. As a country whose energy requirements will increase significantly in the years to come, continued co-operation in this sector is important," she added.
Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki, Rajya Sabha MP K A Ismael, Lok Sabha MP Vijay Bahadur Singh will accompany the President.
Patil will spend two days in Abu Dhabi before moving onto Dubai and Sharjah. She will also visit the Abu Dhabi and Dubai chambers of commerce. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)