http://economictimes.indiatimes.com...artnership-with-India/articleshow/6768216.cms DUBAI: India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will form an action plan for a strategic partnership to forge ahead cooperation in several areas including security, defence, education, culture and economy. This was decided at the final meeting of the India-GCC Strategic Partnership Study Group held in Riyadh, a news report has said. Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Talmiz Ahmad said that the meeting on Saturday concluded with a set of decisions on security, defense, politics, employment of foreign labor, education, culture, economy and others areas of cooperation. A similar meeting was held in Dubai two years ago. "The study was the outcome of years of research between the two groups," Ahmad was quoted by Arab News as saying. He also said that it will be documented in book form. Ahmad also recalled the recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the Kingdom which paved the way for the Riyadh Declaration. "India has always stood for the cause of the Arabs, particularly the issue of Palestine," GCC Secretary-General Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah said at the inaugural session of the meeting held at the GCC headquarters in Riyadh. The Indian team was led by Leela Ponappa, a former ambassador, former deputy security adviser and secretary to the National Security Council of India. Ambassador Khalid Al-Jandan, undersecretary for economic and cultural affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ahmad were present during the inaugural session of the meeting, the report said. Al-Attiyah said the meeting was held to explore new areas of cooperation in all areas. "All countries in the GCC as well as India are willing to participate in projects that would be of mutual interest. India is a country with an abundance of skilled staff supported by a rich knowledge economy which could be harnessed by GCC countries for their progress and prosperity," he said. Gulf Cooperation Council includes Saudi, Qatar, UAE , Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait. The volume of trade exchange between India and GCC countries exceeded USD 64 billion in 2009. The GCC states import a variety of goods including agricultural commodities, while India imports oil and gas in return. In a paper, it was pointed out that energy security is important for India as well as GCC countries. India's energy security challenge comes from its high import dependence for oil and gas needs. Oil and gas imports not only feed its domestic industries, but also its exports of petroleum products.