Dubai: President Pratibha Patil on Friday left for Syria after a five-day visit to the oil-rich United Arab Emirates which saw further impetus to the ties between the two countries, which have become the largest trading partners.
While no agreements were signed during the first visit of Patil to the Gulf region, it saw the UAE coming out in strong support to India`s quest for a permanent seat in the
reformed UN Security Council.
In her meetings with the business community in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah as well as here, Patil forecast that trade and investment would be the prime catalysts to foster deeper ties
between India and the UAE whose current trade turnover is a record USD 43 billion.
"Trade and investment will be the cornerstone of our partnership in the evolving global scenario," she said. "There is potential for the current level of Indo-UAE trade to be
boosted considerably in the coming years."
Patil, who had talks with the UAE leadership including the President and the Vice President, underlined that there was also room for co-operation in the oil sector and both
countries must consider more co-operation between their respective oil industry sectors for establishing a long-term relationship in the field of petro-chemical industries, not
only in India and the UAE, but in third countries also.
The President`s refrain for the investors in the UAE was that they should participate in the growth story of India.
A highlight of Patil`s visit was the inauguration of a 24-hour helpline here that would provide Indian labourers access to counselling on legal and financial matters. the
Indian community in the UAE is 1.75 million and is the largest expatriate community here.
In Syria, the President will discuss regional and international issues, including the Middle East peace process, with her counterpart Bashar Al Assad.
Assad had paid a state visit to India in June 2008. India`s engagement with Syria in hydrocarbon sector has been rewarding and state-owned OVL has investments in
Al-Furat Petroleum Company which has struck oil in one block.