India and Arab countries, in the Gulf and West Asia, can explore the forging of partnerships and investments to develop the oil and gas reserves in India which would provide “win-win solutions”, a top official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Wednesday.“We can explore the forging of partnerships and investments to develop the oil and gas reserves of India. Developing the significant fields in Kutch district, Cauvery basin, Mahanadi basin, Hugli basin and offshore locations in the Bay of Bengal will broaden hydrocarbon production and provide win-win solutions longer into the future,” said the MEA Secretary (CPV&OIA) Sanjay Bhattacharyya said at LEADS 2020 FICCI Seminar on Gulf and West Asia Reimagining Business Beyond Oil.

He further said that the movement towards alternate energy sources is leading to a “new partnership” in renewables adding that India is “happy” that a number of countries in the region are associated with the International Solar Alliance.“Collaboration in solar and other renewables, where efficient technologies are being developed, will give a more rounded context to energy security for both sides in the long run,” he added.

Bhattacharyya further termed human resources as the second key area of “our bilateral cooperation” with the region, particularly in the Gulf and added that Indians were the largest expat community in the region, with 9 million workers and professionals (30 per cent of all expat workforce), who also remitted USD 48 billion to India, which helped domestic development.

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“At the same time, Indian expats contributed greatly to the development of the Gulf and West Asia region and there were wide recognition and appreciation of their role by the Gulf states. In fact, Indians were seen as the preferred migrants in the region,” he added.He said that the two-way investments can increase significantly, with sovereign wealth funds and portfolio investments from the Gulf region and Indian corporate investments playing a leading role.

“Similarly, diversification of the trade basket beyond hydrocarbons, to include engineering goods, gems and jewellery, precious metals, food products, textiles and chemicals in our exports and new products in our imports can give impetus to our trade relations. The development of joint projects on both sides and in third-countries, stronger corporate presence, expansion of connectivity and people-to-people exchanges can add a new dimension to these ties,” he added.

The MEA Secretary said that exchanges between India and the Arab world have “promoted deeper understanding and cooperation” adding that the business community “can develop deeper links”, based on each other’s national priorities and development plans.“Cultural, academic, scientific and other people-to-people exchanges will promote good will among the people and facilitate economic engagement. The relations that we have enjoyed across the Arabian Sea for centuries can be consolidated with the incorporation of the new winds of change sweeping across our region,” Bhattacharyya said.

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