Patil arrives in Syria after ending visit to UAENovember 26th, 2010 - 5:53 pm ICT by ANI
By Praful Kumar Singh
Damascus, Nov. 26 (ANI): Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil arrived on a four-day state visit to Syria on Friday afternoon after completing a successful five-day visit to the United Arab Emirates.
Mansoor Azzam, Syria’s Minister of Presidential Affairs, received the Indian President at the Damascus International Airport.
President Patil will be in Syria from November 26-29 and is the first Indian head of state to visit the country.
Patil, who left on nine-day state visit to West Asia on Sunday, described Syria as an important country for India’s energy security needs.
“In the second segment of my tour, I will be visiting Syria which will be the first Presidential visit from India. India and Syria enjoy traditionally friendly ties and cooperate actively in the UN and NAM,” she told reporters on board Air India One.
“Syria has expressed support for India’s permanent membership of the UNSC. India, too, on its part, has always supported all just Arab causes, and has consistently supported the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, which remains occupied by Israel since 1967,” President Patil said.
The Indian President said her visit to Syria would focus on strengthening the economic and business aspects between the two countries.
“We seek to increase the level of our bilateral trade which stands at a modest 540 million dollars. As Syria intends to open its markets and embark on massive development, there should be plenty of opportunities for India to expand its economic links,” she said.
“Syria is also important to us for our energy security. OVL already has investments there and is looking for more opportunities for oil exploration,” Patil added.
In Syria, President Patil will hold talks with her counterpart Bashar al Assad, who visited India in June 2008. Meetings with Syrian Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri and the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament, Mahmoud Al Abrash are also scheduled.
During Patil’s visit, officials of both sides will also explore investment opportunities in each other’s country.
The Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and Syria’s relations with its neighbours will also be an important segment of the talks.
The President will address Indian and Syrian businessmen and launch the Syria-India Business Council.
Patil will also visit the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, where many Indian scientists are doing commendable work.
India and Syria have ancient historical linkages dating back several millennia. Archaeological findings provide evidence of 4000-year-old trade links between India and Syria and there are linkages between the Mauryan Empire and the contemporary rulers in Syria.
The Gulf region is home to over five million-strong Indian diaspora and the visit of President Patil will boost India’s multi-faceted ties with the West Asia region.
“I will also meet representatives of the Missionaries of Charity who are doing excellent work in Syria with older persons. I will be visiting AAMAL, a Syrian organization for the disabled managed by Asma Al Assad, the First Lady of Syria,” she said.
President Patil’s visit to Syria will provide the opportunity to carry forward our dialogue and engagement with the Syrian President and the leadership of Syria in all areas. (ANI)
- Syria important for India's energy security needs: President Patil - Nov 21, 2010
- President Patil to visit UAE, Syria to boost trade ties - Nov 19, 2010
- Patil says India supports Syria in seeking lasting solution to Middle East problem - Nov 27, 2010
- Patil interacts with Syrian parliamentarians - Nov 29, 2010
- Patil to end visit to Syria, to return to New Delhi - Nov 29, 2010
- Syria, India open informatics centre in Damascus - Dec 30, 2010
- President Patil to visit UAE, Syria - Nov 21, 2010
- President Patil leaves on nine-day visit to West Asia - Nov 21, 2010
- Patil asks Indian businessmen to invest in Syria, contribute in developmental plans - Nov 28, 2010
- India listens in on Iran conference on Syria - Aug 09, 2012
- President to travel to UAE, Syria later this month (Lead) - Nov 02, 2010
- Indian gives 100 million dollar line of credit to Syria - Nov 27, 2010
- India, US to brainstorm on Syria, Iran - Aug 16, 2012
- India bats for UN-led resolution of Syria crisis - Aug 14, 2012
- Iranian parliamentary delegation in Syria for talks - Aug 26, 2012
Tags: abrash, air india, azzam, bashar al assad, bilateral trade, business aspects, damascus international, energy security, golan heights, india india, indian president, mansoor, massive development, naji otri, oil exploration, ovl, presidential affairs, syrian parliament, united arab emirates, west asia