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First GCC-Indian ministerial meeting explores ways to boost cooperation
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 03 - 11 - 2020

‏Ministers of foreign affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states held a first virtual meeting with the Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
The meeting was held, under the chairmanship of the United Arab Emirates' Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Mohammed Gargash, the current president of the GCC Ministerial Council, with the participation of Bahraini Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullatif Al-Zayani, the Secretary-General of the GCC Dr. Nayef Al-Hajraf and other GCC member states' delegation.
The meeting reviewed ways to strengthen relations as well as exchange views on international and regional files of common interest.
‏Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, addressed joint cooperation in various fields, especially on the economic front, as well as coordination to face emerging challenges, such as effectively dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
‏Dr. Gargash underscored the role of India in the international community, the historical importance of India for the countries of the region, the commercial and social ties between them, the depth of Gulf-Indian relations, and the importance of strengthening them in various ways: economic, investment, tourism, cultural, as well as in education, scientific research and industrial, artificial intelligence, environment, health, and space.
‏He clarified that the UAE and GCC countries are keen on "more coordination and cooperation in various fields and at all levels."
‏Moreover, he spoke of prospects for strengthening Gulf-Indian cooperation in the economic, commercial, and investment fields through joint projects amid an optimistic view of doubling trade exchange upon the signing of the forthcoming free trade agreement between the two sides.
He indicated that trade exchange increased from $13 billion in 2001 to approximately $109 billion in 2018.
‏He also stressed the common desire to enhance cooperation and coordination between GCC countries and India to achieve shared interests. He added that GCC countries view India as an important partner to promote peace and stability at the international level, especially in conflict areas.
‏Dr. Gargash praised the efforts of Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to develop relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which appreciates Indian support for GCC efforts to reduce tension in the region, its positions in support of peaceful solutions, its positive stance towards the Abraham Accords, and its support for peace, coexistence, and stability in the Middle East to open a new chapter in the region.
‏For his part, Jaishankar described India-GCC relations as at their best. He also expressed his gratitude to GCC countries for their care and support for Indian communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‏All attendees agreed that the post-COVID-19 era requires "our solidarity to enhance stability and security by reducing tension and resolving contentious issues through political means."
‏The ministerial meeting also discussed ways to create an atmosphere for the region's transition from crisis to stability, given that strengthening security and reducing regional tensions are necessary factors to achieve development and economic and investment exchange. — Agencies

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