Cairo: India's strong traditional support to the Palestinian cause remains unwavering even while pursuing good relations with Israel, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said here on Tuesday and added that the India is now more actively engaging with the Arab world.
Addressing the Egyptian Council for World Affairs, she also spoke about boosting economic and defence ties with Egypt and underlined three pillars for partnership with it.
She also said India remains concerned about the growth of terrorism and of sectarian violence in the region and stands committed to support efforts to fight this.
"We also sense a need to develop a broader approach based on dialogue to shift from an atmosphere of mistrust and violence towards one which exudes confidence in peace and development. We have noticed the positive role played by Egypt in this context on several occasions in history," she said.
Sushma Swaraj said the new developments including the Iran nuclear agreement can open up new vistas of cooperation and reduce frictions.
"India is a long-time friend of all the countries in the region and we have no major differences with any. We remain convinced that a new paradigm of peace, prosperity and stability will emerge," she said.
"We have strong interests in the Arab world and have been strongly committed to its various causes. We have been supportive of your aspirations regarding the resolution of the Palestine-Israel issue. Our strong traditional support to the Palestinian cause remains unwavering even as we pursue good relations with Israel. We commend the Egyptian role in bringing about a ceasefire in last year's Israel-Gaza conflict," she said.
Referring to the Arab region, she said: "Your region is no longer our extended neighbourhood, it is now our neighbourhood. We are now more actively engaged in your region which lies to the west of my country. You are central to my security interest as well as my requirements for energy."
"Millions of my citizens work in this region and contribute to its economy. Our political exchanges are frequent and we are strong partners in the emerging structures both political-security as well as economic. But most importantly, we share historic ties of exchanges between people and ideas, of trade and commerce, of language and literature and are bound together in bonds that make us brothers," she said.
Sushma Swaraj, who met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and Arab League chief Nabil El-Araby on Monday, said India and Egypt are "both committed to take our relations to the next higher level.
"I see this new partnership based on three principal pillars. These pillars are: First, closer political interactions and security cooperation; Second, deeper economic engagement and scientific collaboration; Third, wider cultural contacts and people-to-people exchanges."
She said India and Egypt envisage even closer security cooperation and also propose to step up exchange of information and coordination to combat terrorism, both at the regional as well as global level.
"Our defence relationship, which is based on our traditional and friendly ties will be upgraded further to closer cooperation across the spectrum. At the multilateral level, we shall strengthen coordination with the League of Arab States, work closely through the India-Africa Forum Summit and further our outstanding cooperation at the UN and other multilateral bodies," she said.