India, Syria should intensify ties: Patil

June 19th, 2008 - 12:15 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) India and Syria should intensify their relations by ramping trade and encouraging people-to-people contacts, Indian President Pratibha Patil said here Wednesday. Speaking at a banquet she hosted for her Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, Patil said: “Our civilisational and historical links are well known and well documented.

“We look forward to intensifying our relations with Syria as we believe that our historical links are just as important to our peoples as our common endeavours in the path of modernization,” Patil added.

Pointing out that both countries were confronting common issues, Patil said India would be happy to extend its support and work with Syria in mutually agreed areas of cooperation.

“We should increase our trade relations. Indian companies are interested in working in Syria in the IT, petroleum and fertiliser sectors among others,” she added.

The Indian president also suggested building links between educational institutions, encouraging student exchanges and cultural cooperation as a way to promote people-to-people contacts.

She expressed India’s commitment “to supporting all peaceful, negotiated efforts that will lead to just and lasting peace in the region, a peace that will result in the vacation of occupation, restoration of human dignity and mutual respect”.

“For this reason, India continues to call for progress in the peace process on all tracks,” said Patil.

Choicest dishes from different parts of India like chicken anarkali, daal panchratan and motiya pulao were served during the banquet.

The musical element was provided in the shape of the instrumental Swagatam, or welcome, composed by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar, as well as popular song, Nour El-Ain, by Egyptian singer Amir Diab.

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