India gives 100 million dollar line of credit to Syria

Damascus (Syria), Nov.27 (ANI): India today extended a 100 million dollar line of credit to Syria in order to strengthen bilateral economic cooperation and achieve a higher growth rate between the two countries in the coming years.

India's trade with Syria has increased steadily from a modest 30 million dollars in 1995-96 to 528.46 million dollars in 2008-09. This will be the third line of credit extended by India to Syria.

In the first presidential visit from India to Syria, President Patil announced: "In the talks today, India has offered a 100 million dollar line of credit to be used by Syria in sectors to be mutually agreed upon, keeping in view Syria's priorities."

"While this will be the third line of credit, the purpose behind this offer is to encourage Indian companies to involve themselves in developmental projects in Syria, which will give them good exposure to the Syrian market, and would also showcase to Syria the potential of Indian companies," she told reporters during a joint address with her Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad after delegation level talks on Saturday.

A cultural exchange program and two agreements on cooperation between media organizations are being signed between the two countries later today to facilitate greater flow of information and bring the people closer.

A business delegation is also accompanying Patil to explore opportunities for investment in Syria.

President Patil also said that the IT Centre for Excellence, a project of India-Syria co-operation agreed upon during President Assad's visit to India, will start functioning very soon.

"India looks forward to closer cooperation with Syria in fields such as IT and training in highly specialized fields. To facilitate this, as also for capacity building in other areas, the number of scholarships for Syria under the ITEC programme will be increased from the present 45 to 90. I call upon Syria to make full use of this offer," she said. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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