Making a compelling case for building an enduring bridge between India and the Arab world, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has voiced deep concerns over “the rise of religious fanaticism, radical extremism and terrorism” in various parts of the region.
“Being a longstanding partner of the Arab world, we in India are also deeply concerned with the rise of fanaticism, extremism and terrorism in parts of the region,” Sushma Swaraj told journalists at the first India-Arab Media Symposium in New Delhi August 21.
“We are concerned for the stability of these countries where terrorism and fanaticism are tearing apart the fabric of societies and also concerned over the spill-over effects on regional stability,” said Swaraj, while underlining that “the fates of our two regions are intertwined in many ways.”
“The continued captivity of 40 innocent Indian workers in Mosul and the holding of 7 Indian sea farers in prolonged custody by pirates in Somalia have brought home to ordinary Indians searing impact of regional instability in parts of the Arab world,” said Swaraj.
India committed to Palestine cause
Underlining India’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and its unflinching commitment to expanding relations with the Arab world, India’s external affairs minister reiterated India’s position on the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict and stressed that “on such a sensitive issue, there is no room for confusion or misunderstanding.”
“Let me repeat, and underline, once again: There is no change in India’s policy of extending strong support to the Palestinian cause, while maintaining good relations with Israel. India is deeply concerned at the loss of large number of civilian lives in Gaza. We have called on both sides to exercise maximum restraint and work towards a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue.”
The media symposium is being held to promote better mutual understanding and to enhance exchanges and collaboration between the mushrooming media of India and the Arab world.
“In engagements between nations and regions, nuanced knowledge and understanding of each other is critical to nurturing ties. Governments and international organisations hold talks, take decisions and initiate policies. However, in today’s wired world, the media has a vital role in collectively shaping how these decisions and policies are seen by the people,” said Swaraj.
“The India-Arab Media Symposium is a laudable step to keep each other informed and engaged about crucial political and socio-economic developments taking place in our two regions and their implications for the present and future stability and prosperity of each other,” she said.
West Asia, a vital part of India’s extended neighbourhood, is critical to India’s national interests. The region accounts for over 60 per cent of India’s oil and gas requirements and is home to 7 million-strong Indian diaspora, who send home around $30 billion in annual remittances.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.
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