India for more anti-terror cooperation with Gulf

April 6th, 2009 - 7:24 pm ICT by IANS  

By Manish Chand
Kuwait, April 6 (IANS) Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari Monday called for greater cooperation between India and the Gulf countries to combat the “international plague” of terrorism as he began his three-day visit to the oil-rich Gulf emirate. He also sought more Kuwaiti investment in India’s infrastructure development.

Kuwait rolled out the red carpet to welcome Ansari, the first high-level visit from India to this country that has a large Indian expatriate population.

Ansari, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran, was received at Kuwait International Airport by Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.

“It’s an international plague and has to be fought like a plague,” Ansari told reporters here when asked whether India planned to increase counter-terrorism cooperation with the Gulf countries.

“Terrorism is a common problem. We have been cooperating with Kuwait and other countries in the region both bilaterally and multilaterally,” he said.

We have been advocating a more comprehensive anti-terror treaty, he said.

Ansari’s visit will focus on pushing economic, energy and strategic ties between India and Kuwait, home to 580,000 Indians and 10 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves.

Ansari was to call on the Amir Of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and discussed an entire range of bilateral and global issues.

The two countries are expected to sign two pacts in the area of science and technology cooperation as well as educational exchanges for 2009-11. Enhancing cooperation in maritime security is high on the agenda as India exports nearly 70 percent of its oil requirements from the Persian Gulf region.

With recession hitting developing countries, Ansari will make a pitch for accelerated Kuwaiti investment into India in his address to the Kuwaiti Chambers of Commerce and Industry Tuesday.

“We are looking for funds in infrastructure. It remains a high priority for us,” Ansari said when asked whether India was looking for investments from Kuwait. Although recession has hit parts of Kuwait’s economy, its economy is still going strong. Kuwait is said to have over $80 billion oil revenues and is looking east to invest.

Minister of State for Statistics and Programme Implementation G.K. Vasan and senior officials of the external affairs and petroleum ministries are also accompanying Ansari on this important visit to the Gulf country.

Ansari will attend a reception hosted for members of the Indian community in Kuwait Monday evening.

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