'Strong India-Middle East ties will benefit both'

New Delhi: Underlining the need for increased cooperation between India and Middle East, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha K Rahman Khan Wednesday said close ties between the two sides would prove beneficial for both of them.

"About two billions of Indians are working in Saudi Arabia, which is virtually the centre of the Middle East. Our NRIs are remitting USD 11 billion annually in the Indian economy. I am sure the two countries coming together will benefit both," Khan told reporters here.

He was talking to journalists after returning from Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh, where he led an Indian delegation in the recently concluded Third G-20 Speakers' Consultation meeting.

The conference mainly discussed the impact of Eurozone financial crisis on G-20 nations in which India is also a party, the energy crisis in the world and the alternatives available and global dialogue of cultures.

In the three-day convention that concluded on February 26, Khan made presentation on the theme of 'Financial Crisis and its impact on Global Economy' and an intervention on the theme 'Global Dialogue of Cultures'.

He said changes taking place in world economy, including a shift in economic balance towards emerging markets, will have significant policy implications at the global level.

Khan said that the Riyadh conference focused on the financial crisis and the need of sustainable development of energy on a priority basis.

"The existing barriers to free trade have negatively impacted developing economies. It is, therefore, important that the trade regime built under the auspices of WTO addresses the concerns of the developing countries," he said.

Khan also said that the diversity of Indian society and inter-faith harmony here received wide acclaim during the consultations.