Our Bureau

Kochi, Feb. 27

The Indo-Arab Economic conference, jointly organised by the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Assocham, has called for greater co-operation between India and Arab countries in the areas of information technology, bio-technology and medical tourism.

The Arab ambassadors were represented by the Dean of Arab Diplomatic Corps - Ambassador of Sudan to India, Dr Abdal Mahmood Abdal Haleem Mohammed, who spoke on Indo-Arab relations, historic background of relations, various factors that contributed to the growth of the relations and the prospects of further co-operation. As many as 11 ambassadors from various Arab countries participated in the event, which was attended by senior government officials.

In his speech, he referred to the commonalities shared by the people of Sudan, Arab world and India for a better society. He said that India and the Arab nations should cooperate in biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology, besides, space and genome research for mutually beneficial partnerships. They should also enhance their co-operation in areas such as services, industrial modernisation, research, technological development, maritime transport and air services.

He said he wanted a Kerala-specific exhibition or drive to be undertaken in Sudan so that the State would be accurately projected with the progress achieved in every field. He also called upon the Kerala businessmen to look at Sudan as their destination for trade relations and help them in areas such as education and health care.

Most of the ambassadors had come to Kerala for the first time and many complained about the lack of information, inadequate infrastructure to the extent that there is no direct flight between the national capital and Kochi.

The Algerian Ambassador, Mr Nouredine Bardad Daidj, said that everybody agreed that there was no other place to go outside Delhi except Kerala, but the State Government was required to do a great deal to project the State. The prospect of Indo-Arab world economic and technical co-operation appear as to be quite promising in the years to come, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, the Assocham President, Mr Anil K. Aggarwal, said that it was for the first time that so many diplomats gathered anywhere in a State outside Delhi. Mr N. Sreekumar, President of the Cochin Chamber, said that Arab countries account for 50 per cent of India's global trade, while India procures two-third of its energy requirements from the Arab world. It is with this backdrop of mutuality, the ambassadors gathered in Kochi and attended the presentations made by four senior officials from the State Government, he said. The presentation included tourism, IT, industrial investment opportunities and non-resident Keralite affairs.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 28, 2006)
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