The First Senior Officials Meeting of the India-Arab Cooperation Forum

The First Senior Officials Meeting of the India-Arab Cooperation Forum took place in Delhi on 07 November, 2014, during which Senior Officials from member States of the League of Arab States met with their counterparts from the Ministry of External Affairs and representatives from other Ministries of the Government of India to discuss a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues.

A Joint Statement issued at the end of the meeting recalled the "historic and civilization ties between India and the Arab world and expressed their commitment to work together to tackle common political and economic challenges.” Apart from a review of preparations for major events on the bilateral front, the statement called for greater cooperation in the field of energy, environmental protection, trade and investment, food security, science and technology and human resource development. On regional issues, the Statement called for a ‘comprehensive, just, and lasting settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli issue,’ and also touched upon other areas of concern in the region. The statement condemned ‘terrorism in all its manifestations’ and called for negotiations towards an early conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).

The Indian side was headed by Mr. Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs while the Arab side was headed by Ambassador Widadi Ould Sedi Heiba, the Permanent Representative of Mauritania to the Arab League. The delegation from the Secretariat of the League was headed by Ambassador Fadel Mohamed Gawad, Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs.

The Senior Officials Meeting marked a significant milestone in the implementation of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) and the Executive Programme (EP) signed between the two sides in December 2013. In August 2014, the first Arab-India Media Symposium was held in Delhi which saw senior journalists from the Arab world interacting with their counterparts in India. The Senior Officials Meeting will be followed by the 4th India- Arab Partnership Conference on 26-27 November 2014 in Delhi and the 2nd India Arab Cultural Festival in Algeria on 20-27 November 2014. A Conference of University Presidents and an Energy Symposium are other events on the anvil.

The Senior Officials Meeting was assessed as providing an important fillip to the growing partnership with the Arab countries. As a follow-up to this, there is an agreement to hold the Ministerial session of the India-Arab League in one of the Arab countries in 2015.

New Delhi
07 November 2014

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