'India keen to build bridges with Arab world without interference'

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    'India keen to build bridges with Arab world without interference'

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    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the repercussions of instability and terrorism in the region are being felt far and wide.

    New Delhi on Thursday put to rest “conflicting interpretations” of its stand on the Israel-Gaza conflict, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reiterating that India’s policy continues to be of extending “strong support to the Palestinian cause, while maintaining good relations with Israel.”.

    “India is deeply concerned at the loss of large number of civilian lives in Gaza. We have called on both sides to exercise maximum restraint and work towards a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue. Apart from strong political support to the Palestinian cause at international, regional and bilateral levels, India has been contributing budgetary, economic and developmental assistance to Palestine and its people,” she said, addressing the first India-League of Arab States Media Symposium in New Delhi.

    Underlining the need for peace and stability in the Arab world, she said the repercussions of instability and terrorism in the region are being felt far and wide and cited the case of Indian nationals in captivity in Mosul as an example.

    “Being a long-standing partner of the Arab world, we in India are also deeply concerned with the rise of fanaticism, extremism and terrorism in parts of the region. We are concerned for the stability of these countries where terrorism and fanaticism are tearing apart the fabric of societies and also concerned over the spill-over effects on regional stability. This concern is but natural as the fates of our two regions are intertwined in many ways. Our national and energy interests are certainly important; but more important is the human bond. The continued captivity of 40 innocent Indian workers in Mosul and the holding of seven Indian sea farers in prolonged custody by pirates in Somalia have brought home to ordinary Indians searing impact of regional instability in parts of the Arab world,” Ms. Swaraj said.

    The Ministers said India has been keenly watching the developments unravel in the Arab countries post the ‘Arab Spring’ and is keen to offer support without interference: “…India continues to be guided by the principles of being non-interfering, non-prescriptive and non-judgemental. In other words, India remains ready to provide any support, but strongly believes that it is for the Arab countries to decide their destiny, without any external interference or diktats from outside.”

    Reaching out to the Arab world, Ms. Swaraj said the NDA government is committed to advancing the relationship with all countries in the region to mutual advantage. India sees West Asia as a vital part of its extended neighbourhood, she said as it accounts for over 60 per cent of India’s oil and gas requirements. “Collectively the Arab world is India’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade increasing to over US$ 180 billion in 2012-13. Oil dominates India’s imports from the region, but recent trends show the trade basket becoming more diverse across the region ranging from Oman to Egypt, Sudan and beyond…In essence, economically, relations are expanding by the day. The possibilities of growth are virtually limitless.”

    'India keen to build bridges with Arab world without interference' - The Hindu
     
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