indo gulf_ indo arab conference by lindash


									                   Indo-Gulf, Indo-Arab Conference
               Hotel Shivalikview, Sector-17, Chandigarh
                        30 July 2009, 10.00 A.M.

Speech for Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs,
Mrs. Preneet Kaur

-     H.E Mr. Khid’r Haroun Ahmed Abdulrazig, Ambassador of the Republic of
-     H.E. Dr. Ahmad Salem Al Wahishi, Ambassador of the League of Arab
      States’ Mission in India
-     H.E. Mr. Sheikh Humaid Bin Ali Al-Maani, Ambassador of the Sultanate of
-     H.E. Mr. Larbi Moukhariq, Ambassador of Morocco & Dean of Arab
      Diplomatic Corps
-     H.E. Mr. Mustapha A. Noman, Ambassador of Republic of Yemen
-     Mr. Arun K Agarwal, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Committee on International
      Affairs (Africa)
-     Mr. Sudesh Aggarwal, Chairman, IBPC (Sharjah) and Chairman
      ASSOCHAM Committee on Gulf
-     Diplomats of the Arab Missions in New Delhi
-     Distinguished speakers
-     Mr. D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM
-     Distinguished participants and representatives of Indian trade & industry
      and the members of the media.

 It is indeed a great honour for me to be here amongst you this
morning. I thank ASSOCHAM first for deciding to hold this important
event in the city of Chandigarh and second for giving me this
opportunity to share my thoughts with this distinguished gathering of
captains of trade and industry from the northern region of our country.

Let me say, at the outset that the Gulf region is not a stranger to us.
In ancient times, Indian merchants traversed across the continents
through the Arab World to the markets in Greece and Rome on the
ancient Silk Route. Peninsular India had very substantial links with
the Arabian peninsula from pre-Islamic times. After the advent of
Islam, this interaction between these two regions continued
seamlessly. Indian pilgrims, over the last 1400 years, bravely crossed
the seas to perform Haj every year.
Nor is there a mystery about this relationship. India and the Arab
World are apparently a geographical extension of each other, bound
together by a deep sense of commonality and extended
neighbourhood. There has been a regular process of interaction and
exchanges between people of India and the Arab World. So I have
come here today not to introduce a new region to you but to
strengthen the bonds that we had since centuries. In fact the contents
of our dialogue with the countries in this region, then and now, relate
to each other’s interests and requirements, capabilities and
capacities, aspirations and achievements. In the wake of the current
economic meltdown, India and Arab World look forward to
consolidation of economic relations and further diversification of the
trade basket. Even issues like ensuring regional stability and security
architecture both in the Gulf region as well as in South Asia are
poised to deeply strengthen India-GCC relations.


The most important challenge before the developing countries like
ours is to pursue the path of inclusive growth. After several years of
modest annual growth, India has now entered the era of high growth
rates, over 8 per cent per annum across the board, and between 9-12
per cent per annum in certain sectors, particularly the services sector.
The impact of these growth rates is quite visible: today, we have a
substantial middle class that, in terms of achievement –
technological, managerial and financial – is able to hold its own with
the best in developed societies. We have also been able to address
the problem of poverty substantially. Many more people than before
are today able to experience a palpable improvement in terms of food
consumed and other aspects of living standards that enhance the
level of human dignity.

As leader of business and industry, we all understand that to sustain
this growth and leapfrog in the next decade, the two most important
prerequisites that we need to focus on, are “energy security” and
“development of infrastructure”. We need to increase our primary
energy supply at least by 3 to 4 times and electricity generation
capacity and supply by five to six times. India is in a position to
absorb US$ 500 billion investment in the next decade or so to meet
the growing infrastructural needs. The current i9nternational
economic and financial situation provides a unique opportunity for
India to leverage the vast surplus funds in the Gulf for our
development needs, and to accelerate trade and investment flows for
each other’s benefits. It is here that we see the new horizon of our
engagement with the Gulf region.

Ladies and Gentlemen

India’s relations with the countries in the region are based on the
fundamental premise that the Gulf region is part of our natural area of
economic interaction. The region is an important source of energy to
us as almost 70% of our energy requirements are sourced from the
region. At the same time, India has become an important source for
providing human resources and food products. As we speak, nearly
5 million Indians live in the Arab world and it is a matter of great
satisfaction and pride for us that Indians have contributed significantly
to the development of the countries which they rightly consider as
their second home. Increasingly, the profile of the Indian community
in this region is changing and today almost 20% of Indians are
professionals. Bilateral trade between India and the countries in the
Arab World has also increased significantly. Infrastructure
Development Programme, promote healthcare and education
systems and carry forward the message of their lofty mission to prove
to be the welfare states for their people.

From strategic point of view, India and GCC share a need for
continued political stability and security in the region. Common
political and security concerns of India and GCC could translate into
efforts for peace, security and stability in the region. Emerging threat
perceptions create fresh challenges and opportunities for enhancing
GCC-India cooperation. This could involve joint efforts to meet
emerging domestic and regional challenges, foremost from the
common threat of terrorism. Through the means of Joint Cooperation
meetings, foreign office consultations, defence exchanges we have
been able to achieve strategic and defence cooperation with almost
all countries in the region.

High level exchanges between our countries provide a platform for
renewing relations and exploring new avenues for mutual
cooperation. In the recent past, we witnessed several high level visits
bilaterally manifesting the importance of the region in our relationship.
The visits of our Prime Minister to Qatar and Oman in November
2008 and by our Vice President to Kuwait in April 2009, opened up a
new chapter of our partnership with the countries in Gulf.

Today in the age of globalization we have to take into account the
changing scenario and to equip ourselves appropriately. Our
endeavor should be to leverage our comparative advantage to build
alliances, develop partnership, creating new avenues of growth and
development and strengthening the existing ones. We need to
enhance our mutual investments, joint ventures and project
participation with the countries in the region.

So friends,

I am happy to note that ASSOCHAM has taken a commendable
initiative with a sustained series of Indo-Arab, Indo-Gulf conferences
and dialogues to provide a platform for Indian industry, trade and
business community to develop linkages with the Arab counterparts.

We hope that today’s conference on Indo-Gulf Indo-Arab Cooperation
and other conferences which ASSOCHAM is planning to organize in
future would ignite the brains on both sides and find ways and means
to forge stronger bonds of business to their mutual benefit. Today’s
day long deliberations would hopefully provide valuable guidance in
that direction.

Thank you,

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