Patil asks Indian businessmen to invest in Syria, contribute in developmental plans

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Damascus, Nov 28 (ANI): Launching the Syria-India Business Council to facilitate frequent and closer contacts between the business communities of the two countries here on Sunday, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil asked Indian businessmen to identify several avenues to involve themselves and contribute to Syria's developmental plans.

Representatives of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Federation of Syrian Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Syrian Chamber of Industry respectively to form the business council.

"Today, we are launching the Syria-India Business Council. The formation of this council would add to efforts to further strengthen trade and economic ties. The council will function effectively, will disseminate information on opportunities in the two countries, work closely with the governments in addressing the specific problems," President Patil said.

On Saturday, Patil announced that India has given a 100 million dollar Line of Credit to Syria. This is the third line of credit given by India to Syria.

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.

"Both India and Syria are expanding economies that have successfully weathered the global economic crisis. This was possible due to an effective regulatory framework and a prudent monetary policy," Patil said while launching the Syria-India Business Council on Sunday.

She said that the Indian economy is likely to register a 8.5 percent growth in the current year, which should offer plenty of opportunities for the Syrian business community, and added that this growth rate will be sustained in the coming years also.

Patil said: "I am sure that the India business delegation will identify several avenues to involve itself and contribute to Syria's developmental plans. Indian companies are already involved in the development program of Syria."

Indian companies like the ONGC Videsh Limited is engaged in exploring and production of oil; BHEL is putting up a power plant; and Apollo International is extending assistance in the modernization of the Steel Rolling Mill in Hama.

MECON is close to completing a feasibility report on utilization of phosphatic resources of Syria. Himalaya Herbals has a joint venture providing technical know how and materials for manufacture and marketing of herbal drugs and cosmetics in Syria. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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