India, Arab League for action plan on all-round cooperation

April 18th, 2008 - 6:25 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) India and the League of Arab States may soon ink an agreement that would spring-board their partnership to a higher level, a top official said here Friday. A memorandum of cooperation and a plan of action for an India-Arab Forum have been in discussion between India and the 22-member Arab League for over a year, Ahmed Salem Al-Wahishi, chief representative of the League of Arab States in India, said at the Indo-Arab Investment Projects Conclave.

He described the proposed India-Arab Forum as one of the most important initiatives in the history of Indo-Arab relations.

“This forum will provide an umbrella for enhancing Indo-Arab ties both at government and non-governmental level, including the private sector that will cover all aspects - political, economic, economic, social and cultural,” said Al-Wahishi.

An Arab League delegation visited India in May 2007, when it held talks on the two documents. According to officials, both sides have given their views on the drafts circulated by the Arab League. Incidentally, the Arab League has a similar pact with China, laying out a five-year action plan.

A three-day Indo-Arab Partnership Conference is scheduled for November, along with an Arab Cultural festival.

Currently, the Arab countries account for 20 percent of India’s total trade. Their two-way trade has almost tripled from $7.56 billion in 2001-02 to $23.42 billion in 2005-06.

Chief executives of over 100 companies from 13 Arab nations are attending the two-day conclave organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

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