Riyadh: The first round of India-Gulf Cooperation Council GCC Senior Officers Meeting was held in Riyadh on Monday. The Indian delegation was led by Secretary (Consular, Passport Visa & Overseas Indian Affairs) Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, while the GCC delegation was led by Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Negotiations Dr. Abdul Aziz Bin Hamad Al-Owaishaq. 

The meeting had participation from all the 6 member countries of GCC. The meeting was held pursuant to MoU signed on India-GCC Mechanism of Consultation during  External Affairs Minister’s visit to Riyadh in September last year.

External Affairs Ministry said, both sides conveyed happiness over the progress in trade and investment between India-GCC countries. Both sides agreed for an early finalisation of India-GCC Free Trade Agreement.

Dr Sayeed invited for more

collaboration between India and GCC countries in renewable energy, food security, health, IT sector and counter terrorism. Both sides proposed formation of Joint Working Groups to cater to particular areas of cooperation between India and GCC countries. These joint working groups would be headed by experts and would ensure regular and continuous progress across priority sectors.

Both sides appreciated the progress in relations between India-GCC countries built on historical ties, coupled with growing trade and investment, and presence of approximately 8.5 million Indian diaspora in the region. GCC as a trade bloc is the largest trade partner to India with a total trade of 154 Billion dollars in Financial Year 2021-22 They agreed that people to people ties need to be further enhanced. The discussion also focused upon regional issues of importance.

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