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Address by Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan at the Ministerial Inaugural Session of the 6th India-Arab Partnership Conference (IAPC)

Posted on: July 11, 2023 | Back | Print

Your Excellency Dr. Ali Ibrahim Al-Maliki, Assistant Secretary General of the League of Arab States (LAS)

Your Excellency Dr. Khalid Hanafi, Secretary General of the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC)

Mr. Tariq Hijazi, Assistant Secretary General of the Federation of Arab Businessmen (FAB)

Mr. Shailesh K Pathak, Secretary General, FICCI

Mr. Adeeb Ahamed, Chairman-FICCI Middle East Council and Managing Director, LuLu Financial Holdings.

Mr Siddiq Ahmed, Co-chair of FICCI Middle East Council and Chairman & Managing Director of Eram Group

Dr. Gunveena Chadda, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI

Dr. Pradeep Rajpurohit, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs

Ambassadors and Diplomats,

Senior Officials,

Representatives of Business & Industry

Distinguished Delegates,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Namaskaram & Sabah Al-Khair !

It gives me great pleasure to be among you here at the 6th edition of India-Arab Partnership Conference (IAPC). At the outset, let me begin by appreciating the Secretariat of the League of Arab States (LAS), the Union of Arab Chambers (UAC), the Federation of Arab Businessmen (FAB) and the Federation of Indian Chambers and Industries (FICCI) for their meticulous efforts in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs in organizing this important Conference.

This Conference is an excellent platform to discuss business, trade and investment opportunities and also to explore new avenues for cooperation. The 5 rounds of India-Arab Partnership Conferences held in the past have contributed immensely to the rapid boost in our business and commercial ties. I am confident that this edition of the Partnership Conference will also be a success like the previous editions.


India and the Arab World have traditionally enjoyed close and friendly relations. These relations date back to ancient times. Traders, scholars and diplomats would often traverse the Arabian Sea and the land routes linking India to West Asia and the Arabian peninsula, transferring knowledge and merchandise commodities. The shared cultural heritage, through the linkages of language, customs and traditions continue to lend energy to our historic bonds.

The Arab world is indeed a part of India’s extended neighborhood. India’s staunch commitment to deepen engagement with the region, our shared views on major international developments, strong economic and commercial relations and deep people-to-people ties form the foundation of our relations.

Bulk of India’s external trade passes along the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. There are vital Indian investments in countries stretching from Oman and Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Sudan and beyond. Moreover, India has a large expatriate community of over 9 million in the Arab world, who over generations, have contributed to the prosperity of countries of their residence.


The India-Arab trade relations have withstood the test of time. Even during the recent pandemic and global geopolitical conflicts, the trade between India and the Arab world continued to grow. Today, it stands at over USD 240 billion. The Arab world is endowed with vast natural resources, especially oil, gas and fertilizers which are vital for energy and food security. The region caters to about 60% of our crude oil imports, and more than 50% of fertilizers and related products, making our partnership robust and indispensable. The region has a young and dynamic population, with a growing consumer market.

There are growing investments from both sides, with a clear vision of shared success and prosperity. Our wide-ranging partnership with Arab countries encompasses every aspect of human endeavour – from food & energy to financial services to health & education, Information Technology & renewable energy, Start-ups and large infrastructure projects.

A new thrust to our economic engagement is being provided through entrepreneurship, science and technological collaboration, environmental protection and greater focus on food and energy security.


India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world, with our growth for the current year estimated to be at 7%. In a remarkably short period of time, we have risen from being the 10th largest economy in the world to being the 5th largest. With a GDP of over $3.5 trillion, a strong democratic system, a vibrant civil society, a culturally diverse and pluralistic population of around 1.4 billion people, and a resilient and innovative private sector – India is increasingly being recognized as the brightest spot on the globe.

Under the strong and decisive leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, the Government of India is consistently working towards improving the country’s business environment and implementing innovative measures to boost manufacturing and investments in the country.

Introduction of transformational policy decisions like the Start-Up India and Make in India initiatives, Production linked Incentive Scheme for manufacturing, Digital India Campaign etc. have reaped instant and profound results. They have led to the development of world-class manufacturing capabilities in India in a very cost-effective and technologically relevant manner. Today, India has one of the best eco-systems in the world for innovation, which is reflected in the growing number of Indian start-ups. Today, there are more than 130 unicorns in over 70,000 start-ups in India, and their number continues to grow.

The new India is moving ahead with the mantra of Reform, Perform and Transform in every sector. This becomes evident when we see the drastic improvements in India’s standing on the global scale. India has improved substantially in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2022. As a result of improvement in government efficiency, infrastructure, economic performance and business efficiency, India has recently climbed to the 40th spot in the Global Competitiveness Index rankings.


This year assumes special significance as India has taken over the Presidency of G20. In line with our theme of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” – "One Earth, One Family, One Future” that affirms the spirit of universal brotherhood, India seeks to utilize this opportunity to bring to the high-table voices of the Global South and focus international attention on priorities, perspectives and concerns of the developing countries, including from the Arab world.

I am confident that this timely and important Partnership Conference will result in concrete outcomes and action plans that will take the India-Arab partnership to new heights and strengthen our relations in the days ahead.


In conclusion, I wish great success to the Partnership Conference and wish you all a pleasant and memorable stay in India.

Thank You!