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Human resource exchanges major element of India's bilateral cooperation with the Arab world: Secretary MEA

Feb 23, 2021

NEW DELHI, 23 February 2021: Amb Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary (Arab, OIA & CPV), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India today said that Indians are the largest expat community in the Arab world with nine million workers, and a major element of the bilateral relationship has been the security provided by the exchange of human capital.

Addressing the inaugural edition of Namaskar Arabia organized by FICCI, the MEA Secretary said, both India and the Arab region are engaged in improvements and transformational changes in the economy, and the goodwill between the people provides great potential to take the economic engagement to a higher level.

"We are currently engaged in an era of transformation on both sides that helps us engage more deeply with each other. From a buyer-seller relationship we have developed a long-term strategic relationship, not only in oil and gas, but also in upstream and downstream investments," Amb Bhattacharya said.

The key elements of our economic engagement are distinguished by energy, security, food security, human resource exchanges, growing trade and investment relations, Amb Bhattacharyya said.

"We have moved from a hydrocarbon era to renewables and the International Solar Alliance can be a great opportunity for renewables to respond to the challenges of climate change" he further added.

Speaking on economic exchanges, Amb Bhattacharya said that the complexion of flows of investment and technology and good and services has changed dramatically, and it is time for us to seize the opportunity and take it to the next level.

He further mentioned that the potential for FDI has not been fully explored and urged the business counsels to consider it closely as the way ahead will be through further extension of such potential. High technology cooperation, especially in technology and Fintech, has the potential to be stepped up. Although the India-Arab trade is huge, it is an aspect that has been underutilized, he added.

Speaking about food security, Amb Bhattacharya said that is a sector that both countries have been engaged in and today with the new agriculture reforms in India there is a huge opportunity for the Arab world to set up bases in India, which will be a win-win situation for both countries, he added. The senior diplomat pointed out the importance to focus on the tourism sector along with medical tourism as it will promote cultural connections and the human touch will enhance the relationship between both countries.

Mr Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Chair-FICCI India-Arab Council & Chairman, Sun International said the Arab region is crucial for India's economic development and many Indian companies are investing in Arab countries. He further said that apart from trade there are other significant scopes of investment in India for long term positive gains for the Arab countries. "We look forward to participating in Dubai Expo 2021," he said.

HE Mr Hamdi Tabba, Chairman, Federation of Arab Businessmen said that the Arab region has a strong relationship with India and there is a huge potential for investment in India and Arab countries. "We should see the potential investment areas for both the countries and focus on increasing investment between them," he said.

HE Khalid Hanafy, Secretary General, Union of Arab Chambers & Former Minister of Internal Trade, Egypt said the trade relation between India and Arab is historical, but the Arab region aims to switch to a stronger relationship as a joint economy. "The Arab world must not only have a link with India, but we need a strategic alliance to link India and the Arab region with the rest of the world, particularly Africa. He mentioned Arab region could work as logistics and supply chain hub for this strategic relationship.

HE Dr Saud Al Sati, Dean, League of Arab States Ambassadors in India & Ambassador of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to India said it is encouraging to see that after a year of unforeseen challenges the global economy is recovering. "India is treading on the path of the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission, which is a significant step; India and Saudi Arabia will find opportunities for the collaboration of growth in 2021," he said.

Dr Siddeek Ahmed, Co-Chair, FICCI India-Arab Council & CMD, Eram Group delivered the vote of thanks and said FICCI has created a unique platform as LEADS, which provides a forum for the exchange of ideas important to the regional commitment of India.

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General FICCI said that Namaskar Arabia is a virtual expo formed to bring the Arab and Indian businesses together. The Arab countries have been India's largest business partners and the cooperation between India and Arab counties continues to grow and prosper.

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