Unleashing its rich cultural heritage and culinary delights, the League of Arab States, set up on 22 March, 1945, to propel a united Arab world towards liberation, sovereignty and economic prosperity, celebrated its 70th Anniversary on Tuesday, 31 March, 2015 at the residence of the Ambassador of Kuwait to India.
Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India who was the chief guest at the function hailed the flourishing economic linkages between India and the Arab region. “India has always shared close and friendly relations with the Arab world as manifested with strong Indian labour force present in the region.”
The Arab League was established to provide a legal and institutional framework that would bring the Arabs together and provide a platform to serve their interests. The Arab League is committed to the goals of consolidating ties among the 21 member states, coordinating political plans to achieve cooperation, and maintaining their independence, sovereignty and joint heritage.
On the occasion, Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President, FICCI was conferred an award in recognition of FICCI’s efforts to promote and strengthen economic relations and cultural exchanges between India and the Arab world. The event was attended by diplomatic community of the Arab as well as other countries. The guests were welcomed by H. E. Sami Mohammed Al Sulaiman, President, Arab Ambassador’s Council followed by remarks from H. E. Dr. Mazin Almasoudy, Charge d’Affaires, League of Arab States Mission in New Delhi.
On the sidelines of the anniversary celebrations, the first ever India-Arab Cultural Festival was organized by FICCI, in partnership with Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and Arab League Educational Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO). The event was inaugurated by the former Secretary General of Arab League, Dr. Amre Mousa.
Though this was the first cultural festival, the FICCI has partnered with the Arab League in past years to organize India-Arab Partnership Conferences. Four such conferences have been held in the past and serve as a business platform for economic engagement.
India holds its relations with Arab countries in high esteem. Arab countries are among India’s most important trading partners. India’s trade with Arab countries stood at US$185.6 billion in 2013-14. The total inward FDI from Arab countries stood at US$3.5 billion in August, 2014 and India has a matching investment in the Arab region of around US$4 billion.
At the cultural festival several Arab countries put up food stalls to showcase their traditional foods, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Bahrain, UAE, Palestine, Djibouti and Oman among others.
- Syed Ajaz Haider Rizvi