External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday held talks with Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf and sought further easing of restrictions by the GCC countries on air travel from India as well as mutual recognition of vaccination certificates.
Jaishankar held wide-ranging talks here with Al-Hajraf, who is on his first official visit to India on November 10-11, 2021. “A detailed review of India-GCC relations with Secretary General @GCCSG Dr. Al-Hajraf. Discussed our growing political, trade and investment relationship. Agreed to convene the next India-GCC Troika Political Dialogue at an early date,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Also, exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern, he said.
Both leaders recalled the historic and friendly India-GCC relations, which have seen robust progress in recent years, and undertook a detailed review of the relations as well as discussed ways to further enhance them, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
The GCC Secretary General lauded the contribution of the Indian community to the Gulf countries and said that GCC wants to be a partner of India in its economic growth. Jaishankar thanked the GCC countries for taking care of the large Indian diaspora in their countries during the Covid-19 pandemic and medical assistance provided during the second wave in India in April-May 2021, the MEA said.
The minister also apprised the Secretary General of the progress made by India in its vaccination programme and both leaders expressed satisfaction at India-GCC cooperation in handling the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, it said.
Jaishankar hoped for further easing of restrictions by GCC countries on air travel from India and mutual recognition of vaccination certificates. the statement said.
Trade relations discussed
Both leaders also discussed trade and investment relations between India and GCC and they expressed satisfaction that essential trade between India and GCC continued even during the Covid lockdowns. Both sides agreed on the need for further securing supply chains, including in the areas of energy security, food security and health care, the MEA said. Jaishankar highlighted India’s attractiveness as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), including for sovereign wealth funds in GCC countries, it said.
The EAM and GCC Secretary General also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern. Jaishankar also congratulated Secretary General for the constructive role played by GCC in promoting stability and prosperity in the region. Both sides decided to convene the next India-GCC Troika Political Dialogue at an early date. The last round of the Dialogue was held virtually in November 2020.
Both sides also agreed to further institutionalise the annual meetings between EAM and GCC Troika by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the coming months, the statement said.
Al-Hajraf will also hold discussions with Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal on Thursday. PTI