The Arab-India Cooperation Forum has held its third Senior Officials Meeting via video conference, on 12 January.
The meeting was co-chaired by Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary CPV&OIA) at India’s Ministry of External Affairs, and Ambassador Mohamed Abu Al-Kheir, Assistant Foreign Minister and Permanent Representative of Egypt to the Arab League. Other participants included Senior Officials from other Arab States and India, as well as the Arab League’s General Secretariat.
The Senior Officials recalled the historic ties that exist between the Arab World and India, and underlined the contribution of commercial and cultural ties to binding the two sides together.
They hailed the strong foundation, great potential, and wide-ranging prospect for Arab-India cooperation, and the role that the Forum can play to advance Arab-India relations.
The Officials discussed issues of mutual concern on both regional and international levels, emphasising the importance of strengthening cooperation and coordination mechanisms between the two sides.
This seeks to serve the mutual interests of both sides, and maintains regional and international peace and security. In this regard, they reiterated the need for political solutions to regional issues and crises in the Middle East.
This would take place according to relevant international legitimacy resolutions and relevant agreements and references, particularly the Palestinian Issue, and the crises in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
The officials underscored the need for cooperation in combating terrorism and ensuring freedom of navigation and maritime security, according to the principles of international law.
They stressed that the exceptional circumstances and unprecedented challenges that the world faces due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, require the need to strengthen international and regional cooperation.
This will allow for efforts to confront the consequences of this pandemic, including in areas of conflict and crises. In that context, they discussed ongoing collaboration between India and the Arab world in the fields of diagnostics and treatment, and exchanged views on respective national approaches to post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
The Arab side congratulated India on its election as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term (2021-2022), while looking forward to India’s continuing pivotal role at the international stage, particularly with regard to regional issues of mutual concern.
The Senior Officials also discussed ways and means to enhance cooperation in the framework of the Arab-India Cooperation Forum, including in the fields of: economy, trade and investment, energy and environment, agriculture and food security, tourism and culture, human resources development, education and health care, science and technology, and media.
They agreed on the early scheduling of the joint activities of the Forum, including the 3rd Session of Arab-India Cultural Festival, the Symposium on Arab-India Cooperation in the field of Energy, the 1st Arab-India University Presidents Conference, the 2nd Symposium on Arab-India Cooperation in the field of Media, and the 6th Session of Arab-India Partnership Conference.
They look forward to holding the 2nd Ministerial Meeting of the Arab-India Cooperation Forum, in India, at a convenient date for both sides.