Presidential visit UAE and Syria

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Nov 20, 2010.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    President Patil to visit UAE, Syria to boost trade ties

    To further boost India's economic ties with the Gulf region and to promote trade, tourism and investment, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil will be paying a state visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 21 to 25 and the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) from November 26 to 29.

    President Patil is visiting UAE on the invitation of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan

    Senior officials and a business delegation drawn from the leading industry associations will accompany the President on her visit.

    During her visit, President Patil apart from meeting the UAE President, will also hold meeting with the Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai; the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, and the Ruler of Sharjah.

    Apart from visiting Abu Dhabi, President Patil will also travel to Dubai and Sharjah during her first visit to the Gulf region.

    India-UAE relations have been traditionally warm and friendly and based on continuity, trust and confidence without any irritants.

    India has had social and mercantile contacts with the Gulf and West Asian region since times immemorial. People-to-people contacts and barter trade have existed for centuries. India-UAE relations have flourished after the creation of the UAE Federation in 1971.

    UAE is a significant trading and energy security partner. Indo-UAE trade, valued at US 180 million dollars per annum in the 1970s, was valued at US 43.4 billion dollars in 2009-2010.

    UAE emerged as the top destination for India's export with 13.41 percent share of total export in year 2009-10. UAE also ranks among the top five suppliers of crude oil to India.

    President Patil will be addressing the captains of business and industry in UAE during her visit, both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

    In Sharjah, the President would be inaugurating the Indian Trade Exhibition Centre the objective of which is to promote two-way trade, tourism and investment between India and the UAE.

    President Patil will also be interacting with a wide cross section of the Indian community in UAE, which numbers nearly 1.75 million and is the largest expatriate community in the UAE whose role and contribution for the development of UAE is widely appreciated.

    The President will launch an Indian Workers' Resource Centre during her visit, which is designed to provide 24-hour help line and counselling services to distressed workers.

    In addition, the President will inaugurate the premises of the Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi.

    President Patil will address the students and faculty of the Dubai International Academic City in Dubai where several Indian educational institutions have their branches.


    The President will also interact with the students of the Abu Dhabi Indian School in Abu Dhabi during her visit.

    After UAE, President Patil will travel to Syria from November 26 to 29 at the invitation of President Bashar Al Assad, who paid a State visit to India in June 2008.

    Significantly, this will be the first Presidential visit to Syria from India.

    India and Syria have ancient historical linkages dating back several millennia. Archaeological findings provide evidence of 4000-year-old trade links between India and Syria and there are linkages between the Mauryan Empire and the contemporary rulers in Syria.

    It is said that Christianity and Islam reached the shores of India from this region.

    President Patil's visit to Syria will provide the opportunity to carry forward our dialogue and engagement with the Syrian President and the leadership of Syria in all areas.

    Discussions on bilateral issues - political, economic and cultural are expected to take place during President Patil's visit.

    Both sides will also explore investment opportunities in each other's country. On the regional and international front, Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and Syria's relations with its neighbours will be important segment of President's discussions. The President's engagements in Syria include a meeting with the President of Syria followed by delegation-level talks, which are expected to cover bilateral relations, regional issues such as the MEPP and international issues as well.

    The President will, inter-alia, meet the Prime Minister of Syria, Eng. Mohammad Naji Otr, and the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament - Mahmoud Al Abrash.

    President Patil will address the Indian and local businessmen and launch the Syria-India Business Council. She would also be visiting the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo.
     
  2.  
  3. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    President to pay State Visits to UAE, Syria from Nov 21-29

    President Pratibha Patil will leave here on November 21 on a nine-day State Visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Syria during which she will hold talks with leaders of the two countries on ways of enhancing bilateral ties in various fields.

    Ms 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.

    Briefing newspersons about the visit, Ms Latha Reddy, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said here today that Ms Patil would meet the UAE President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, and the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum during her visit to the Gulf state.

    She will also meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, and the Ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al Qasimi.

    Apart from Abu Dhabi, Ms Patil will also visit Dubai and Sharjah. They are among the seven emirates that make up the UAE federation, which includes Ajman, Ras al Khaimah, Umm al Quwain and Fujairah. The federation was formed in 1971.

    The President will be accompanied by Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki, Mr K A Ismael, member of the Rajya Sabha, Mr Vijay Bahadur Singh and Ms Masoom Noor, members of the Lok Sabha, senior officials and a business delegation drawn from the leading industry associations.

    The UAE is a significiant trading and energy security partner, and bilateral trade was valued at $ 43.4 billion in 2009-10. In 2009-10, the UAE had emerged as India's top export destination, accountng 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.

    There are more than 450 flights per week between various destinations in India and the UAE. Indians have emerged as important investors within the UAE, and the UAE has around $ 5 billion investment in India and is one of the biggest investors in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) in this country.

    Ms Reddy would be addressing captains of business and industry in the UAE in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In Sharjah, she will inaugurate the Indian Trade Exhibition Centre being set up to promote bilateral trade, tourism and investment between the two countries.

    The two countries have had a regular exchange of high-level visits. Since the 9th session of the Joint Commission, headed by their Foreign Ministers, the two sides have had more than 15 exchanges at the Ministerial level. During this period, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum had visited India in March this year.

    The President will also take the opportunity to interact with the Indian community, which is 1.75 million strong and is the largest expatriate community in the UAE. She wll launch an Indian Workers’ Resource Centre during her visit, which is designed to provide 24-hour helpline and counselling services to distressed workers. In addition, the President will inaugurate the premises of the Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi. In Dubai, she will be address the students and faculty of the Dubai International Academic City where several Indian educational institutions have their branches. In Abu Dhabi, the President will also interact with the students of the Abu Dhabi Indian School.

    In Syria, Ms Patl will hold talks with President Bashar al Assad, who had paid a State Visit to India in June 2008, which had strengthened the bilateral political and economic ties.

    "The President’s visit to Syria will provide the opportunity to carry forward our dialogue and engagement with the Syrian President and the leadership of Syria in all areas," Ms Reddy said.

    She said the discussions would cover political, economic and cultural issues. The two sides will also explore investment opportunities in each other's country. The Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and Syria's relations with its neighbours will also be an important segment of the talks, she said.

    Since Mr Assad's visit to New Delhi, India's engagement with Syria in the economic sphere has increased substantially. An IT Centre is coming up with Indian assistance and would be functional soon. Consultancy firm MECON is finalising a feasibility study on the utilization of phosphatic resources of Syria; the power project awarded to BHEL is partially funded by India through a $240 million Line of Credit; and Apollo International of India is upgrading a steel plant in Hama, for which India has extended a Line of Credit of $25 million.

    In the hydrocarbons sector, ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has investments in the Al-Furat Petroleum Company and it has struck oil in Block-24. OVL is now looking for other opportunities for oil exploration, making Syria important to India's energy security.

    "As Syria throws its market open and embarks on a massive development programme, there will be opportunities for India expanding economic links," Ms Reddy said.

    The two-way trade level stands at a modest $530 million. The Indo-Syrian Joint Commission that met in June this year has decided to work towards doubling the trade shortly.

    "The visit will provide us an opportunity to strengthen economic relations, identify areas of mutually beneficial cooperation and to register our interest in sourcing phosphates, which would help us in our aim to achieve food security. The launching of India-Syria Business Council during President’s visit should also give further impetus to our economic relations," Ms Reddy said.

    Ms Patil's meeting with Mr Assad will be followed by delegation-level talks, which are expected to cover various aspects of bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues.

    She will also meet Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri and the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, Mr Mahmoud Al Abrash. The President will address Indian and Syrian businessmen and launch the Syria-India Business Council. Ms Patil will also visit the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo.
     
  4. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,195
    Likes Received:
    2,223
    are they going to sign any pacts expects for oil/natural gas?
     
  5. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    UAE, India keen on closer bilateral relations

    Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil’s visit to the UAE draws great importance as it is part of the efforts to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries in economic, trade, labour, political and cultural avenues.

    The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has always expressed his keenness to promote bilateral cooperation with India through mutual understanding and convergence in the views of both countries over issues of common concern.

    The bilateral relations between the UAE and India enjoy power and strength as they are based on historical roots and mutual interests and cooperation.

    The visit by Pratibha Patil comes within the framework of mutual official visits by senior officials in both countries aimed to strengthen cooperation for the benefit of both countries.

    This is the first visit by Pratibha Patil to the UAE and comes after the visit to the UAE by the former Indian president Abdul kalam in 2003.

    In March this year, His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, paid an official visit to India and the talks with the senior officials focused on expanding economic cooperation between the two countries.

    India’s relations with the UAE and all the various countries in the region date back to the dawn of history as India and the UAE had set up trade relations before thousands of years and both countries featured significantly in the global maritime trade.
    Relations

    Over the past decades, the relations between UAE and India were further strengthened, thanks to the understanding and the convergence of political and economic interests shared between the two countries, as well as to the foreign policy orientations of the UAE established by the late Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

    The great attention given to relations with India is clearly reflected in the historic visit by the late Shaikh Zayed to India in January 1975, when he met with the then prime minister of India, the late Indira Gandhi, as well as with the president of India and other senior statesmen.

    The visits between senior officials in both countries continued over the past decades. These included the visits by former Indian president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to the UAE in November 1976 and by Indira Gandhi in May 1981. Indira Gandhi held important talks with the late Shaikh Zayed.

    These visits have shown the extent of convergence and understanding in the views and political attitudes between the two countries towards regional and international issues at the time, especially with regard to the situation in the Middle East, where both countries emphasised the need for Israel’s withdrawal from all territories occupied in 1967 including the city of Jerusalem.

    Both countries also emphasised the rights of the people of Palestine and especially the right to return and live in their homeland and establish their independent state.

    Recently, India and the UAE agreed to boost their ‘deep-rooted relationship’ and enhance ties in various spheres.

    The Indian delegation led then by Vijaya Latha Reddy, secretary (east), ministry of external affairs met with Mohammed Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

    In statements following a meeting held by the UAE-India Political Consultation Committee in the UAE, Reddy said they discussed topics of mutual interest and ways to further relations and friendship.

    Reddy also lauded the progress made by the UAE in all fields and praised the leadership of Shaikh Khalifa.

    Later in June, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan Al Mansouri and Indian Ambassador Lokesh Mysore Kapanaiah held a meeting in Dubai to discuss economic relations and investment incentives the UAE and India offer for attracting foreign capital.
    Exchange

    In 2008, the UAE-India non-oil trade exchange reached $32b to account for 15 per cent of the UAE’s total foreign trade, according to the Minister.

    Al Mansouri urged Indian companies to seize investment opportunities and potentials the UAE offers in infrastructure and clean energy and invited both Emirati and Indian businessmen to exchange visits to closely explore means to seize these opportunities.

    He noted that more than 105 Indian companies run investments in the UAE in addition to other hundreds companies operating in the UAE’s free zones.

    The minister lauded the Indian community as a major contributor to the comprehensive development in the UAE, forming an important part of various vital segments in the UAE. ‘

    “The UAE wise leadership is always keen to secure a safe, attractive environment to the Indian community, allowing it to realise ambitions and successes,” he added.
    Visits

    In February, UAE Minister of Foreign Trade, Shaikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi opened a six-day promotional tour of commercial and investment opportunities in the UAE in the city of Mumbai, representing the second leg of an official Indian visit which started in New Delhi.

    The UAE Ministry of Foreign Trade (MoFT) has been overseeing a tour of four Indian cities with the participation of 43 representatives from ministries, federal authorities, local government departments, and private companies.

    Events included a joint forum with the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry held under the theme ‘Why UAE?’.

    In her opening speech, Shaikha Lubna emphasised the UAE’s commitment to enhancing trade and economic ties with is partners, particularly India, based on the Emirates’ policy of openness, trade liberalisation, increased foreign investments, and expanded private-sector participation in development.

    These, she explained, are vital to expediting economic growth and strengthening the components of the overall development of the UAE in various sectors.

    “We came to Mumbai to promote business partnerships and strategic relations between the UAE and India. We have developed these as a trade-oriented bilateral partnership; in fact, India is our top foreign commercial partner, while the UAE is India’s main commercial ally in the Middle East, with non-oil trade exchange between our countries surpassing $32b in 2008,” Shaikha Lubna said.
    Dynamic

    The UAE minister commented that the UAE is currently the most dynamic economy in the Middle East and is well-positioned within the global economy.

    She attributed this status to the Emirates’ successful economic strategy, development policy, and comprehensive economic diversification, noting that initial estimates of non-oil contributions to the national GDP amounted to around 66 per cent last year.

    She pointed out that the UAE offers various trade and investment incentives for Indian and international companies, such as its close geographical location near European and emerging Asian markets; highly-competitive free zones that provide advanced services to investors; 100 per cent transfer of capital and profits; diverse industries and non-oil sectors; highly-available raw materials; cheap energy sources; zero profit and personal income taxes; and other elements that make the business and work environment of the UAE one of the most competitive in the world.

    Shaikha Lubna added that the UAE and India should benefit from expectations of economic recovery within the year, and continue reinforcing the bilateral trade, economic, business, and cultural ties that have been existing between the two countries for so long.
    Fastest-growing

    She explained that the UAE is the fastest-growing ICT-enabled country in the region, noting the local presence of several technology-based research centers and unique local skills that can facilitate potential partnerships and investments in research, development and product innovation.

    She added that the country also offers numerous investment prospects in renewable energy.

    The minister also commended the role of Mumbai in promoting trade, economic and investment relations between the UAE and India, especially as it is the trade and economic hub of India and one of the most attractive cities for diverse investment activity.

    She further stated that Mumbai helps facilitate smooth bilateral partnerships between local investors and their UAE counterparts.

    Mohammed Sultan Al Owais, UAE Ambassador to India, said bilateral relations between UAE and India have reached an advanced level.

    He noted the diversity of investments of UAE companies in India and vice versa, referring to covered industries such as aluminum, energy, finance and telecommunications.

    He called on Indian companies to identify trade and business opportunities in the UAE and avail of the Emirates’ various incentives.
    Future

    Manea Al Suwaidi, a Director in MoFT, delivered a detailed presentation on UAE-India relations, the future vision of the UAE, and the existing investment opportunities under the title ‘Why has the UAE come to India?’.

    He explained that trade cooperation between the two countries has grown significantly, pointing out that the UAE’s trade with India amounted to $32.1b in 2008, accounting for 15 per cent of total UAE foreign trade and rising 48 per cent over the 2007 figure to make India its top international trade ally.

    Al Suwaidi noted that India is also the UAE’s top non-oil export partner, with sector exports growing at 49 per cent in 2008 over the prior year. He added that India ranked second only to China in terms of value of imports at $16.9b during the same year, at a growth rate of 38 per cent over 2007.

    India also topped UAE re-exports, posting $10.4b at a growth rate of 69 per cent. He further noted that the UAE is India’s second-largest trading partner in terms of non-oil exports after the United States, with figures increasing 9.4 per cent.

    Moreover, Al Suwaidi stated that the UAE is India’s fourth trade partner after China, Saudi Arabia and the United States in terms of total value of imports, with imports from the country accounting for 5.1 per cent of the global total.

    He also said the UAE ranks 31st among the most competitive economies in the world, pointing out that the non-oil sector accounted for more than 63 per cent of the national GDP in 2008 and rose to 66 per cent in 2009.

    Al Suwaidi further noted that the non-oil sector comprised more than 53 per cent of total exports for 2008.
    Policies

    He attributed the solid figures to government policies that have promoted economic and social development and have developed mechanisms for boosting competitiveness. He also referred to substantial and diverse market opportunities in renewable energy, tourism, transport, health, and education.

    Last March, the UAE’s MoFT announced that its trade office in India is now officially operational.

    The step which was taken in coordination with the UAE Foreign Ministry is part of MoFT’s strategy to further promote trade relations with the subcontinent, expand the UAE’s foreign trade contribution to its GDP, preserve the country’s trade interests as well as to increase the flow of foreign direct investments (FDI) into its domestic markets, according to Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, the director-general of the MoFT.

    This follows the opening of similar offices in China, the US, Switzerland and Germany.
    Strategic

    “To further promote UAE exports and national products in international markets, MoFT assigned qualified employees to trade sections of a number of UAE embassies abroad as part of a plan to open official trade offices in countries such as Australia, Brazil, South Korea, Iran, Turkey, France, South Africa, the UK, Canada and Singapore,” Al Saleh commented.

    He noted that the opening of the UAE Trade Office in India will contribute to stronger strategic partnership since the UAE which is now India’s top trade partner in the Middle East whereas India is also UAE’s first trade partner with two-way trade surging to Dh165b in 2009, up from Dh32b in 2008.

    In coordination with the Foreign Ministry, Manea Al Suwaidi assumed office as a commercial attache at the UAE Embassy in India.

    Al Suwaidi holds a bachelor’s degree in applied sciences, has spent over one year at the Foreign Ministry as head of department and brings in over ten years of experience for governmental departments and private companies where he was involved in public relations, events management, crisis management and marketing.

    The UAE’s overseas representative trade offices are tasked with preparing reports on economic development in the UAE, giving proposals on furthering economic and trade relations with relevant countries, providing analyses of UAE economic data as well as initiating contacts with relevant authorities of respective countries.
    Opportunities

    The offices also provide UAE businessmen and investors with services, advice and data on commodities on trade regulations as well as promote investment opportunities provided by the UAE for foreign investors.

    Overseeing progress on the implementation of agreement between the UAE and other countries, coordinating the organisation of trade fairs and exhibitions and initiating contacts with foreign officials, commercial attaches are also among the roles of overseas UAE trade offices.

    A survey released earlier this year by MoFT on UAE’s overseas investments revealed that the investments of a group of large UAE companies in India reached Dh5.7b up until the year 2009 accounting for 1.4 per cent of the total foreign direct investments in India.

    According to the survey, the UAE is the largest Arab country, and the 10th globally, in terms of the total FDI inflows into India. Globally, it comes after Mauritius, Singapore, the USA, the UK, Holland, Japan, Turkey, Germany, and France.

    The report, which was conducted by the Analysis and Trade Information Department at MoFT, attributed this positive change to the big increase of 273 per cent in the value of UAE non-oil exports that went up from Dh2.2b during the first quarter of 2009 to Dh8.4b, in addition to the increase in the value of India-bound re-exported UAE commodities by 162 per cent, going up from Dh4.4b to Dh11.5b during the same comparison period.

    MoFT’s survey revealed a positive shift from a deficit during the first quarter of 2009 worth around Dh7.3b to a surplus, in the favour of the UAE, during the first quarter of 2010 worth Dh2.2b.

    The figures of the two quarters show a growth by 83 per cent in the size of non-oil foreign trade between both countries from Dh20.5b to Dh37.5b.

    This reflect the strength of existing bilateral ties between the UAE and India and the strength of the UAE’s economy and its development that are seen as a direct result of the implementation of the country’s policy and strategy of increasing economic openness, and its execution and establishment of a free market policy, a diversified economy, and increasing the UAE’s non-oil exports in order to increase their contribution to the GDP.

    The report also shows that India is the UAE’s largest trade partner, while the UAE is the number one trade partner for Indian exports, and the second largest trade partner in terms of Indian imports, coming in the second place after China.
     
  6. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    More than 50% of the trade with UAE is non-oil now and is also the biggest bilateral trade partner ahead of China US and Saudi Arabia who are at 2nd, 3rd and 4th position.

    The pacts would be in all kinds of areas including security, FDI and counter-terrorism.
     
  7. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    Briefing by Secretary (East) on President’s Visit to UAE and Syria

    Official Spokesperson (Shri Vishnu Prakash): A very good evening to all of you. You are aware that Rashtrapatiji, Hon. President of India, would be leaving very shortly on a state visit to United Arab Emirates and Syria. Secretary (East) Ms. Latha Reddy is here to brief you on this very important visit of Rashtrapatiji. I would like to introduce two of my colleagues who have joined Secretary East. To her right is Mr. Rajiv Chander, Joint Secretary (Gulf) and to my left is Mr. Rajiv Sahare, Joint Secretary (WANA).

    May I now invite Secretary (East) to please make her opening remarks?

    Secretary (East) (Ms. Vijaya Latha Reddy): Thank you Vishnu and thank you friends for being here.

    President of India Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil will be on a State visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) from November 21-29, 2010. While the UAE visit will be from November 21-25, the visit to Syria would be from November 26-29.

    Rashtrapatiji’s forthcoming State visit to UAE would be at the invitation of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE. It would be our Hon’ble President’s first State visit to the Gulf region.

    During the visit, apart from the President of UAE, she will be meeting the Vice President & PM of UAE & Ruler of Dubai; the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi & the Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, and the Ruler of Sharjah. Apart from Abu Dhabi, President will travel to Dubai and Sharjah. She is being accompanied by senior officials and a business delegation drawn from the leading industry associations.

    India-UAE relations have been traditionally warm and friendly and based on continuity, trust and confidence without any irritants. India has had social and mercantile contacts with the Gulf and West Asian region since times immemorial. People-to-people contacts and barter trade have existed for centuries. India-UAE relations have flourished after the creation of the UAE Federation in 1971.

    UAE is a significant trading and energy security partner. Indo-UAE trade, valued at US$ 180 million per annum in the 1970s, was valued at US$ 43.4 billion in 2009-2010. UAE emerged as the top destination for India’s export with 13.41% share of our total export in year 2009-10. UAE also ranks among the top five suppliers of crude oil to India.

    There are more than 450 flights per week between various destinations in India and the UAE. Indians have emerged as important investors within the UAE, and the UAE has around US $ 5 billion investment in India and is one of the biggest investors in terms of FDI.

    The President will be addressing the captains of business and industry in UAE during her visit, both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In Sharjah, the President would be inaugurating the Indian Trade Exhibition Centre the objective of which is to promote two-way trade, tourism and investment between India and the UAE.

    There is considerable goodwill for India in the UAE at all levels and our ties are multi-faceted and have benefited with the regular exchanges of high-level visits from both sides. Since the ninth Session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) headed by EAM and the Foreign Minister of UAE, which took place in June 2007 at New Delhi, we have had more than 15 exchanges at Ministerial level between our two countries as well as the visit of Prime Minister and Vice President of UAE to India in March 2010.

    The President will also be interacting with a wide cross section of the Indian community in UAE, which numbers nearly 1.75 million and is the largest expatriate community in the UAE whose role and contribution for the development of UAE is widely appreciated. The President will launch an Indian Workers’ Resource Centre during her visit, which is designed to provide 24-hour helpline and counselling services to distressed workers. In addition, the President will inaugurate the premises of the Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi. In Dubai, she will be address the students and faculty of the Dubai International Academic City where several Indian educational institutions have their branches. In Abu Dhabi, the President will also interact with the students of the Abu Dhabi Indian School.

    In the second leg of her tour, President will visit Syria from November 26-29 at the invitation of President Bashar Al Assad. Significantly, this will be the first Presidential visit to Syria from India.

    India and Syria have ancient historical linkages dating back several millennia. Archaeological findings provide evidence of 4000 year old trade links between India and Syria and there are linkages between the Mauryan Empire and the contemporary rulers in Syria. It is said that Christianity and Islam reached the shores of India from this region.

    President Assad paid a State visit to India in June 2008. The visit strengthened our bilateral political and economic ties. President’s visit to Syria will provide the opportunity to carry forward our dialogue and engagement with the Syrian President and the leadership of Syria in all areas. Discussions will take place on bilateral issues – political, economic and cultural. Both sides will also explore investment opportunities in each other’s country. On the regional and international front, Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and Syria’s relations with its neighbours will be important segment of President’s discussions.

    India’s engagement in the economic sphere has increased substantially in the aftermath of President Assad’s visit: An IT Center is coming up with Indian assistance and would be functional soon; MECON is giving final shape to its feasibility study on utilization of phosphatic resources of Syria; the power project awarded to BHEL is partially funded by us through a US$240 million Line of Credit; and Apollo International of India is up-grading a steel plant in Hama, for which we have extended a Line of Credit of US$25 million

    Our engagement in the hydrocarbon sector with Syria has been rewarding. OVL has investments in Al-Furat Petroleum Company and in Block-24 it has struck oil. OVL is now looking for other opportunities for oil exploration, making Syria important to our energy security. As Syria throws its market open and embarks on a massive development programme, there will be opportunities for India expanding economic links.

    The two-way trade level stands at a modest $530 million. The Indo-Syrian joint Commission that met in June this year has decided to work towards doubling the trade shortly. The visit will provide us an opportunity to strengthen economic relations, identify areas of mutually beneficial cooperation and to register our interest in sourcing phosphates, which would help us in our aim to achieve food security. The launching of India-Syria Business Council during President’s visit should also give further impetus to our economic relations.

    President’s engagements in Syria include a meeting with the President of Syria followed by delegation-level talks which are expected to cover bilateral relations, regional issues such as the MEPP and international issues as well. The President will, inter-alia, meet the Prime Minister of Syria, Eng. Mohammad Naji Otri and the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament - Mahmoud Al Abrash. President will address the Indian and local businessmen and launch the Syria-India Business Council. President would also be visiting the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo.

    I think I have given you a broad outline of what the programme and what the meetings would be in both the countries. I will be happy to take your questions.

    Question: Madam, Syria is one of the oldest ancient cultures in the world. Will any officials from the Culture Ministry also be accompanying the President?

    Secretary (East): We are hoping to sign a cultural exchange programme with Syria on this visit. I am sure this will enhance our relations. This has already been negotiated between officials on the Indian side and the Syrian side. While we do not have specifically a delegation from the Culture Ministry, we will carry forward our discussions also on cultural cooperation.

    Question: Madam, who all are accompanying the President?

    Secretary (East): It is Mr. Bharat Singh Solanki, the Minister of State for Power; and Mr. K.A. Ismael from the Rajya Sabha; Mr. Vijay Bahadur Singh from the Lok Sabha, and Mrs. Masoom Noor from the Lok Sabha.

    Question: Madam, you mentioned that the President is going to inaugurate the helpline. What would it cater to?

    Secretary (East): This is a project which has been taken on through the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. And the idea is, given the very large number of workers, as you know in the Gulf overall we have over five million NRIs there and a very large majority of them I would say, on an average about 70 per cent in each of the Gulf countries, are people who are working as workers in projects - both skilled and unskilled labour. They very often do run into problems with their contracts and they need to contact the Embassy in a hurry. They may be in distress, they may have injuries, they may need to be repatriated urgently, they may have a problem with the employer. One of the problems is, of course the Embassy is available and open, the Consular Offices are available, but there was the need felt for a 24 hour helpline so that they could call at any time, and for giving wide publicity taking out advertisements, advising them that you can call this number at any time once in 24 hours, funds will be made available for those in distress. The Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs has undertaken a very wide-ranging programme. In fact, they will be calling in the Gulf Heads of Mission to discuss with them further how we can facilitate the life of our Indians there. There will be a meeting at the end of this month with all our Ambassadors here in Delhi. MEA and MOIA are working together on these programmes.

    Question: So, in that issue 18 or 20 Punjabis were on death row in Dubai or Sharjah. Will there be any talk on them also? Even in the last month’s meeting you were saying something.

    Secretary (East): The matter is still sub judice in the sense that it is still being held in court. It is under appeal. We have provided legal counsel, we have facilitated visits by the family and others to these people. Taking it up with the Government or submitting a mercy petition would come at a later stage once we have exhausted all legal resources. But we are in touch with them and we are extending them all the necessary assistance.

    Question: I just wanted to know the MEA and CAS stand over our claim to the United Nations Security Council membership. What has been their stand on Jammu and Kashmir?

    Secretary (East): I will answer your second question first. Their stand has been that this is a bilateral issue to be settled by dialogue between India and Pakistan and they recognize our position. As far as the United Nations Security Council is concerned, both these countries supported our non-permanent membership and have expressed support for our permanent membership as well.
     
  8. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    India key to Syria's tilt to the East

    By Sami Moubayed

    DAMASCUS - Syria will host the president of India this week, even as President Bashar al-Assad just wrapped up groundbreaking visits to Romania, Bulgaria and Cyprus. Earlier in the year, he received the presidents of Pakistan, Venezuela and Russia in Damascus and carried out equally successful trips to Latin America, visiting Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, and Venezuela.

    This foreign-policy drive is not new to the Syrians, having started in 2005 when relations reached rock bottom with the United States, France, and many heavyweight countries in Europe. Then, Syria realized that the outside world does not stop at the gates of Washington, London and Paris and that there was an entire world out there - emerging nations with tremendous potential - willing to engage with Syria, with no preconditions.

    These countries happened to share Syria's views on a basket of global issues, were giant economies in the making, and all of them were strongly supportive of Syria's right to restore the occupied Golan Heights. Also, all of them happened to be strongly supportive of issues dear to Syria's heart, vis-a-vis lifting of the siege of Gaza and the rights of the Palestinians.

    Syrian presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban wrote an article a few years back outlining this approach: "Perhaps the time has come to bring the Arabs, from a state of complete submission to the hostile West, towards the East and countries that share with us values, interests and orientation." She then asked: "What did we get from the West, to which the Arabs affiliated themselves for the entire past century, except for occupation, hatred and war?"

    She made reference to former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohammad, one of the many champions of the East, who similarly "headed East" towards Japan, Korea and China when reforming his country between 1981 and 2003.

    Although relations have improved relatively with the US under President Barack Obama and been taken to new heights by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Syria remains committed to its “heading East” policy, investing in bilateral relations with countries that are rapidly rising to rule the new world - China, Russia, Malaysia, Turkey, Brazil - and perhaps the jewel of the crown of all these nations, India.

    President Pratibha Patil's visit to Syria will be the first for an Indian president in the history of bilateral relations, although India's first prime minister, the legendary Jawaharlal Nehru, made a groundbreaking visit to Syria in 1957.

    A dinner was held in his honor at the Presidential Palace, and the following morning, Nehru handpicked a red Damascene rose to place on his jacket, saying that it made him feel bright and optimistic. During this brief visit, a main street in the heart of the capital was named in his honor, to "immortalize Syrian-Indian relations".

    By 1960, Indian cinema had invaded Syrian culture with a groundbreaking film that topped the Syrian charts, Junglee, featuring the hit song Suku Suku, which became very popular among young Syrians. In 2003, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited Damascus, injecting the relationship with new life, prompting Assad to visit India in the summer of 2008, amid a flare of media attention.

    On the political front, thanks to excellent Indian relations with both the Palestinians and Israelis, New Delhi can use its considerable influence to push the stalled Middle East peace process forward.

    The Russians were unable to achieve any progress on that front, despite loud promises by President Dmitry Medvedev, nor were the French. The Americans have also drastically failed in the latest round of talks that took off and collapsed last September, under the watchful eye of Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    India, which enjoys the status of a neutral mediator, can try its hand where all of these nations failed and has repeatedly expressed a desire to play such a role. From where the Arabs stand, the Israelis must be convinced of the need to engage in a serious peace process, based on a halt of settlements, an end to the siege of Gaza, and a commitment to honoring Palestinian statehood.

    On the Syrian front, Damascus has said, time and again, that Israel needs to restore occupied Golan, in full, based on the June 4, 1967 borders with Israel. If it does win a permanent seat on the Security Council, India (along with Brazil) can play a monumental role in helping the Arabs to get Israel to adhere to United Nations resolutions, or thwart ones that are frowned upon by countries like Syria, Lebanon, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, like UNSCR 1559.

    It can help shelter Iran from a new round of sanctions and will certainly have a say on Lebanon if the tiny Mediterranean country decides to renege on its commitments to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) established to investigate the 2005 murder of prime minister Rafik al-Hariri. Only a UN Security Council vote can do away with the STL, and from where things stand in Lebanon today, the Beirut government is expected to back out of the tribunal to ward off a confrontation between the pro-West March 14 Coalition and the Hezbollah-led opposition.

    War or chaos in Lebanon would be very worrying to the Indian government, which has troops deployed as part of the UN peacekeeping force in the south, monitoring the Lebanese-Israeli border. Syria realizes that even if it wished, Lebanon alone cannot do away with the STL, but it can get allies in the international community, like India, to help drown the tribunal, which has been "destructive" to both Lebanon and Syria and will be used to target the legacy, arms, and reputation of Hezbollah if indictments are issued naming Hezbollah members in the Hariri Affair.

    The list of topics where common ground can be reached between Syria and India is long, ranging from collaboration on information technology and investment to development of scientific research, academic exchanges and cooperation on the Middle East peace process.

    In a relationship that has lasted for more than 50 years, there is trust in the air between Damascus and New Delhi, signaling that far from being symbolic, Syria's "heading East" policy is deep-rooted, well thought out and expected to reach new heights after Patil's visit.

    Sami Moubayed is editor-in-chief of Forward Magazine in Syria.
     
  9. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    4,518
    Likes Received:
    1,378
    Location:
    Hyderabad and Sydney
    New Islamic centre to be ‘cultural bridge’ between UAE, India

    PRESIDENT of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil inaugurated the new building of the Indian Islamic Centre in Abu Dhabi, which has been serving the Indian community in the UAE for the past four decades.

    Speaking on the occasion, Patil said that India and the UAE have much in common in their promotion of religious harmony and tolerance towards different shades of thoughts and beliefs.

    “The rulers of this country have adopted benevolent policies, and provided generous support to Indian community organisations belonging to all religions. I am happy that the Indian community has through its hard work and dedication over the decades contributed very positively to the development of the UAE. I understand that the UAE is home to many nationalities that are living in perfect harmony with each other. This ‘unity in diversity’ is also a hallmark of our society,” she said.

    The president said that the Indian Islamic Centre is a tribute to the collective efforts of community leaders. It is, indeed, a reflection of the strength of character of the Indian Diaspora, in nurturing its links with the mother country, while successfully adapting to the local conditions in the host countries.

    “The Centre will no doubt, prove to be a valuable cultural bridge between the UAE and India, and stand as a symbol of our celebrated links. While inculcating pride among the community members about their Indian heritage, I hope the Centre will also serve to highlight among the Emirati community, the close and friendly ties between our two countries. I would like to commend the leaders of the community, whose hard work and dedication has made the Centre a reality,” she added.

    The inauguration of the building was a culmination of thirty years of endeavours as the foundation stone of the newly built structure was laid by then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. in 1981 during her official visit to the UAE.

    Built at a cost of Dhs12 million, the new building is a milestone for the centre. The land for the centre was allotted by local authorities in 1979, but construction started only in 2008 due to a lack of funds.

    The centre, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2011, will now run socio-cultural, religious and charitable activities from its own office.

    Although the centre has a religious affiliation and members are predominantly Muslims, the centre functions on the basis of India’s strong secular values. The centre works for communal harmony by involving all Indian religious communities in its activities.

    The centre organises events to mark all-important occasions of India and the UAE with the participation of all sections of the Indian community in the UAE and Emirati nationals as part of promoting Indo-Arab relations and communal harmony among various religious groups of Indian community.
     

Share This Page