Asserting that India and the countries of the Arab region enjoyed a special relationship, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma on Monday said that India intended to double bilateral trade with the Arab world from the present $114 billion by 2014.

“We look at doubling India and Arab region bilateral trade by 2014. We can do it. Set your goals for investments in India,” Mr. Sharma said while inaugurating the second India-Arab Investment Projects Conclave organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) here.

Cooperation

Mr. Sharma also sought investments from the Arab countries in sectors such as ship building, infrastructure, pharmaceutical, IT, agro-processing and energy. He said returns from investments in India were huge and assured.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Secretary General of League of Arab States, Ahmed Benhelli, said that there were huge opportunities in the region for investments and both regions should cooperate each other in enhancing economic ties. “We can cooperate in the areas like infrastructure, human resource development, health and tourism,” he added.

The Arab League has 22 members, including Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Palestine, Qatar and Algeria.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said that the market opening pact between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council should be concluded at the earliest to further strengthen trade ties between the regions. He called for putting in place a framework for cooperation between India and the Arab states, which he said was constantly deepening and widening.

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