New Delhi: Pitching for deeper engagement, India and the powerful Arab League on Friday discussed ways to step up cooperation in trade, investment and energy security and "condemned terrorism in all its manifestations."
At the first senior officials' meeting of the India-Arab Cooperation Forum, both sides called for negotiations towards an early conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
They also favoured a just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli issue.
A broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues were discussed at the meeting which took place as per the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between thetwo sides signed in December last year.
Arab countries are key for India's energy security. India's trade with most of the Arab countries are growing steadily in the last few years. The Gulf region accounts for over 60 per cent of India's oil and gas requirement.
A joint statement issued after the meeting recalled the "historic and civilizational ties between India and the Arab world and expressed their commitment to working together to tackle common political and economic challenges."
It was decided in the meeting to go for greater cooperation in the fields of energy, environmental protection, trade and investment, food security, science and technology and human resource development.
On regional issues, both sides 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 Indian side at the meeting was headed by Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, while the Arab side was led by Ambassador Widadi Ould Sedi Heiba, the Permanent Representative of Mauritania to the Arab League.
The senior officials meeting will be followed by the 4th India- Arab Partnership Conference on 26-27 November here and the 2nd India Arab Cultural Festival in Algeria on 20-27 November 2014.
The senior officials meeting was assessed as providing an important fillip to India's 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.