India keen to enhance ties with UAE: President

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Abu Dhabi, Nov 21 (IANS/WAM) Indian President Pratibha Patil has said the country is committed to promoting regional peace and security in Asia and enhancing relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the political, economic and cultural fields.

“We have historical and civilisational links with the UAE and the Arab world. UAE is part of our extended neighbourhood and our people have criss-crossed the Arabian sea from time immemorial, establishing in the process enduring bonds at people to people level,” Patil, who Sunday began a four-day visit to the UAE, said in an interview to WAM news agency.

The president recalled the visit of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan of the UAE to India in 1975 and 1992. Former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi visited in 1981, while Patil’s predecessor A.P.J. Abdul Kalam paid a visit in 2003.

“My visit is meant to renew our dialogue with the leadership of the UAE on taking our relations forward and to interact with the business and the Indian communities,” Patil said.

She said India and the UAE have witnessed rapid modernisation of their societies and economies.

“We share common destiny in the contemporary world and we have much to gain by intensifying our cooperation with each other. We have a huge stake in each other’s success, and to that extent ours is a relationship that is of strategic importance,” she said.

“We have achieved the status of being each other’s largest trading partner. There is need for greater integration of our economies, higher flow of trade and investment. Cooperation in energy and environment are assuming importance in our relations as also cooperation in counter-terrorism, tackling the global economic crisis, education. UAE is important for our energy security.”

Patil said she was proud of the fact that the Indian community has made valuable contributions to the socio-economic development of the UAE.

There are over five million Indians in the Gulf region.

“We are very grateful to the UAE Government for the warm welcome they (Indians) have received in the country. The welfare of the overseas Indian community is a high priority for our government.”

“The ministry of overseas Indian affairs has been working for the welfare of the Indian community in cooperation with the host governments. I am happy to say that the UAE ministry of labour has initiated many measures to improve the working conditions of overseas workers.”

During her visit, Patil will launch the Indian Workers Resources Centre in the UAE. It will also feature a 24-hour helpline and counseling service for distressed workers.

Patil will also pay a four-day visit to Syria before returning home.


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