NEW DELHI: India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar held talks with Dr Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), yesterday in New Delhi. GCC secretary general arrived on his first official visit to India on Tuesday, according to a press release issued by India’s Ministry of External Affairs. Dr Hajraf served as Minister of Finance in Kuwait from December 2017 until December 2019 when he became the Secretary-General of the GCC.
Both officials recalled the historic and friendly India-GCC relations, which have seen robust progress in recent years. They undertook a detailed review of the India-GCC relations and discussed ways to further enhance them. 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. Both leaders expressed satisfaction over India-GCC cooperation in handling the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic. The minister hoped for further easing of restrictions by GCC countries on air travel from India and mutual recognition of vaccination certificates.
The minister and GCC secretary general also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual concern. The minister congratulated the secretary general for the constructive role being 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. They also agreed to further institutionalize the annual meetings between EAM and GCC Troika by signing an MOU in the coming months. Dr Nayef Falah Mubarak Al-Hajraf also held discussions with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal later in the day, the release added.