Indian President to travel to UAE, Syria later this month

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    President to travel to UAE, Syria later this month

    New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) After looking east in her previous foreign visits, President Pratibha Patil will be travelling to the Middle East later this month when she heads to UAE and Syria, both countries with which India has significant energy supply links.

    According to official sources, President Patil will be leaving for a multi-city tour Nov 21 and return to India Nov 30. She will first visit Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah before travelling onwards to Syria, where she will go to Damascus and Aleppo.

    This year, Pratibha Patil travelled to China, Laos and Cambodia.

    The last presidential visit to UAE took place in 2004 by then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

    Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, had visited New Delhi in March 2010.

    UAE is also home to a large Indian diaspora of 1.75 million, who are employed in various sectors of the economy. It is also a major supplier of liquefied natural gas.

    The president’s visit to Syria will be the first visit by an Indian head of state to the west Asian Arab republic. Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee had visited Syria in 2003. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad had come to India on an official visit in 2008.

    India has significant investment in the Syrian oil exploration sector. India’s trade with Syria was recorded at $528.46 million in 2008-09.
     
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