New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday invoked noted Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawki`s famous lines on Mahatma Gandhi to describe the relationship between India and the Arab countries.
"Even during their national Independence movements, India and Arab nationalists maintained close relationship. When Gandhi passed by the Suez Canal on the way back from the Round Table Conference in 1931, Ahmed Shawki, the famous Egyptian poet wrote an entire poem praising him," she said in her inaugural address on India-League of Arab States Media Symposium here.
Shawki wrote, "Oh sons of Egypt! Raise the Laurel and salute the Indian hero. He is like the apostles in defending right and virtue. He called on Hindus and Islam to intimacy and friendliness".
The Father of the Nation had attended the Conference in London accompanied by leaders like Madan Mohan Malaviya, Muhammad Iqbal and Sir Syed Ali Imam, among others.
Swaraj today quoted these lines to emphasise that India and Arab world are not "new friends" and partners, but their relationship that dates back centuries.
Apart from referring a poetic work, Swaraj also touched upon historical land archaeological links between India and the Arab region.
"Archaeologists have found evidence of trade links between the Harappan civilisation and that of the Dilmun in the Gulf. Some archaeological sites in Sharjah show the ancient links between the Indian continent and the Arabian Peninsula," she said.
The Minister said that continued trade between the two regions have enriched the two cultures through cuisine, cinema and music, among others.