During the 6th India-Arab Partnership conference, Ausaf Syeed, Secretary (CPV&OIA) of the Ministry of External Affairs, disclosed that discussions on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have resumed. This significant announcement was made within the framework of the Arab-Indian Cooperation Forum. The conference, titled "New Horizons in Investment, Trade & Services," brought together ministers, senior officials, and businesspersons from Arab states and India.
The 6th India-Arab Partnership conference witnessed the participation of key stakeholders from both Arab states and India, emphasizing the importance of strengthening bilateral ties. Ausaf Syeed's update on the resumption of FTA discussions between India and the GCC showcased the commitment to enhance economic cooperation.
“India and GCC have resumed discussions on concluding the Free Trade Agreement. We have exchanged preliminary documents, and the delegations have been meeting. We hope this will soon become a reality, bringing newer opportunities for business on both sides,” Sayeed said during his special address.
In addition, the Secretary alluded to the discussions on exploring alternative forms of trading with GCC nations. “There are discussions with our bilateral partners, talks about Rupee trading, barter trading and many other things, especially under the circumstances where most countries are facing challenges of foreign currency,” he said
The conference serves as a flagship initiative by both sides, offering an institutional platform for fostering strong engagement between the business communities. Through the previous five editions, the conference has played a pivotal role in establishing the roadmap and promoting economic cooperation between India and the countries of the League of Arab States (LAS). It has successfully facilitated the laying of foundations and synergizing efforts to enhance collaboration in various sectors between the two regions.
V Murleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs (MoS) inaugurated the conference and delivered a keynote address. From the Arab Side, the Conference was led Ambassador Ali Ibrahim Al Malki, Assistant Secretary General, and Head of the Economic affairs of the League of Arab states headquarters who gave a welcome address.
The conference witnessed a Ministerial-level inaugural session followed by special sessions focusing on investment climate and opportunities. Distinguished speakers provided insights into the current state of India-Arab cooperation across various sectors, including healthcare, food and energy security, resilient supply chains, and the exchange of expertise and best practices. Emphasis was placed on the crucial role of the private sector in expanding trade and investment relations.
During the conference, Secretary Ausaf Sayeed (CPV & OIA) hosted a dinner for dignitaries, speakers, and participants from both the Arab and Indian sides. The Minister of State (MOS) attended the event as the chief guest. In the concluding session, Secretary (CPV & OIA) delivered a special address to the participants.
The conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and the League of Arab States (LAS), in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Federation of Arab Businessmen (FAB), and the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC). The participants expressed their satisfaction with the substantial program and agreed to convene the seventh edition of the India-Arab Partnership Conference in an Arab country in the year 2025.
Image source: ANI