Syrian president seeks India’s help in infrastructure development

June 18th, 2008 - 8:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Wednesday sought greater economic cooperation with India in the field of infrastructure development. In his address to India’s business leaders here, al-Assad called upon them to work for joint ventures and other collaborations in major areas including infrastructure development and energy generation.

“I invite you to explore opportunities for joint ventures and other collaboration in major areas including infrastructure development, energy production, mineral processing, information technology education and training opportunities,” he said.

Referring to Syria’s economy growing at 6.6 percent in 2007 from less than one percent in 2000, al-Assad said: “Syria will continue to build on these successes in the coming years with further reform and strong partnerships”.

“We have put special emphasis on market oriented training, vocational and technical skills to provide employers a capable and ready workforce,” he told members of India’s top three chambers of commerce.

“Our educational reform agenda has also welcomed greater private sector involvement in developing our higher educational resources and capabilities,” added the president.

“Syrians are hardworking, energetic and willing. Yet, the reform programme will only be successful if they have the skills and knowledge that modern businesses need,” said al-Assad.

Making a forceful appeal for “a wider and deeper engagement” between the countries, he said: “I have no doubt that with this shared spirit, today’s meeting will open new doors for all your companies and ours to find existing opportunities to grow and prosper.”

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed said the Syrian president’s visit would “provide a platform for further strengthening the existing partnerships” between the two countries.

“There is scope for bilateral cooperation in the fields of science, agriculture, higher education, information technology, rail, road and port,” Ahamed said.

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