Addressing the 6th India Arab Partnership Conference today, the Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan, announced India’s commitment to spotlighting the priorities, perspectives, and concerns of the developing nations, including the Arab world, during its as G20 Presidentship.
Expressing his admiration for the ancient bonds that bind India and the Arab world, MoS Shri Muraleedharan stated, “The shared cultural heritage through the linkages of language, customs, and traditions continue to lend energy to our historical bonds. The Arab world is indeed a part of India’s extended neighbourhood. Our shared views on major international developments, strong economic and commercial relations, and deep people-to-people ties form the foundation of our relations.”
Highlighting the resilient India-Arab trade relations, the Minister revealed that despite the challenging global context, trade between India and the Arab world has escalated, currently standing at over 240 billion US dollars. He emphasised the Arab world’s significant contributions to India’s energy and food security, providing approximately 60 per cent of India’s crude oil imports and over 50 per cent of its fertiliser needs.
Shri Muraleedharan highlighted the robust bilateral relationships, extending to domains such as food and energy, financial services, health and education, IT, renewable energy, startups, and large infrastructure projects. Advocating for mutual investments and harnessing the bilateral potential, he affirmed, “The new thrust to our economic engagement is being provided through entrepreneurship, science and technology collaboration, environmental protection, and a greater focus on food and energy security.”
Speaking on occasion, Mr Adeeb Ahamed, Chairman-FICCI Middle East Council and Managing Director, LuLu Financial Holdings, highlighted the abundant opportunities for enhancing economic prosperity through greater cooperation between India and the Arab world.
“India and the Arab world are united with a shared vision to explore endless possibilities between our thriving economies, built upon trust and cooperation,” Ahamed said. He noted that the conference aims to enhance investment flows between the two regions, foster an environment for knowledge sharing, and accelerate the implementation of joint projects in priority sectors.
H.E. Amb. Dr Ali Ibrahim AlMaliki, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs at the League of Arab States (LAS), underscored the enduring relationship between India and the Arab world, highlighting the mutual respect and common ties that have formed the basis of this relationship. He went on to note that both sides have consistently stepped up in recent years to confront developmental challenges, fostering economic cooperation and jointly contributing to regional and global development. Dr AlMaliki hailed the opportunity for the Arab world and India to further elevate their cooperation to levels reaching a strategic partnership, which could open up new horizons, especially in advanced technologies, the energy sector, infrastructure, and the digital economy.
H.E. Dr Khalid Hanafi, Secretary General, Union of Arab Chambers (UAC), emphasised the strength of the existing relations between India and the Arab world, and proposed the need to build upon these foundations, shifting the focus from merely an exchange of goods and services to a more strategic partnership and unity. He underscored the need to establish a payment system between India and the Arab world. Dr Hanafi also advocated for a transition from traditional goods to 4th Industrial Revolution and digital technology applications in agriculture and the management of supply chains.
Mr Tariq Hijazi, Assistant Secretary General, Federation of Arab Businessmen (FAB), underscored the significant role that India is playing as an investment powerhouse in the Arab world. In 2022, India emerged as the third largest investing country in the Arab world, both in terms of capital invested and the number of projects launched. He added, “We hope this conference will further strengthen these ties, contributing to achieving our aspirations and vision for a future Arab-Indian partnership. Our focus remains on consolidating economic relations in various fields for the benefit and interest of both sides.”
FICCI Secretary General, Mr Shailesh Pathak, said, “There has never been a better time for Indian businesses to increase trade with the world, especially the Arab countries.”
Dr Siddeek Ahmed, Co-Chair, FICCI Middle East Council and Chairman & Managing Director, Eram Group, delivered the Vote of Thank