“India has always played its role in the interest of the Arab Right. All today speak of India’s emerging role in the field of development as a country which can provide its experience to the developing countries.” said President Al-Assad 

“Syria has always been for peace, worked and would work in the future for the realization of the just and comprehensive peace. The problem, however, is that during the latest years, the current US Administration has been paying no interest for the launching the process of peace.” 

“Syria regards India as a very basic player in Asia as well as in the world. It is not possible to separate the problem in the Middle East from the problems facing the entire world; they are problems related to freedom, stability, security, and sovereignty.”

 “Syria is a very important country in the region, the Arab and regional surrounding; and has ever played her positive role in finding solutions for the region issues.”

 Addressing the gathering of 'India-Syria Industrial & Economic Cooperation' Forum, H. E. President Al-Assad shared his agony arising out of “consecutive wars” in the Arab world, and hoped for early peace and stability in the region. “Consecutive wars and ongoing conflicts, which continue to cause immense human suffering and violence, only strengthen our resolve to achieve peace and stability,”

 The president talked about Syria’s liberalisation and an economic growth of 6.6 percent in 2007, against less than 1 percent in 2000, said that “the positive change had not been easy”.

 “However, all this positive change has not been easy. Our commitment to reform and economic liberalisation continues to be tested by the challenges facing our region and its dynamic environment.”

 Given the volatile situation in the Arab world, Al-Assad hoped that peace would prevail in the region for “sustainable development and long-term prosperity”. “The indirect talks between Syria and Israel and the recent Doha Agreement, which has provided a tangible step towards national reconciliation in Lebanon, give us reason to be optimistic about the future of our region. “Only peace and stability will ensure sustainable development and long-term prosperity for our region and the world,” asserted H. E. Al-Assad.

 Visiting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad today invited Indian businessmen to tap the "enormous" potential in areas including the energy sector, offered by the Arab country, which has ushered in major economic reforms.  "I invite you to explore opportunities for joint ventures and other collaboration in major areas, including infrastructure development, energy production and mineral processing as well as IT education and training opportunities,"

 He noted that the economic reforms ushered in Syria  has seen growth of 6.6 per cent last year from the less than one per cent growth in 2000.  "I am confident that we will continue to build on these successes in the coming years with further reforms and strong partnerships,"

  The Syrian national strategy has targeted key areas to support opportunity and inclusive growth, he said adding that the priority of his government was to create a "fertile investment environment.", "Economically, improvements in the taxation and exchange rate system have helped strengthen the economy's fiscal and monetary base," the visiting President said. Al-Assad said that measures were afoot to set up the country's first stock market and steps like elimination of restrictions on imports, lower tariffs for local manufacturing and increased access to foreign exchange have gradually begun to liberalise trade.

As Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad addressed a group of business leaders here Wednesday, he stressed on two mantras: self-confidence and inclusive growth. Speaking of self-confidence, Al-Assad used the Hindi word ‘atma vishwas’ to the applause of the audience. “There are times in the life of nations when they feel confident that they can take on the world, that they are capable of meeting any challenge and achieving any ambition. “Such a spirit, a national ‘atma vishwas’ so to speak, provides the most enduring and potent catalyst for national development and growth,” Al-Assad said.

Referring to Syria’s economic development in the recent past, he said that his country was shaping its business environment for today’s global economy. “This means a major change at a sustainable pace and introducing the reforms necessary for a dynamic and prosperous enterprise economy. In our national strategy we have targeted key areas to support opportunity and inclusive growth,” he said.

The president, who spoke for around an hour, equated the spirit of self-confidence with a mindset that is “intolerant of inefficiencies, poor standards, open corruption, and, most critically, intolerant of obstacles which lie in its path”. “This spirit and optimism shared by our people is what makes our two countries great,” Al-Assad said.

Calling upon the world community to deal with the challenges of rising food prices collectively, Al-Assad said: “Challenges in energy and environment, rising food prices and health epidemics - globalisation has shown us that no nation can afford to confront these without dialogue, cooperation and global partnership.”

“India has strategically recognised that stability, security and sustainability should form the foundations of any national aspiration.” He said that India-Syrian partnership would stem from the nations’ common spirit and mutual understanding and aspirations, and lauded India’s efforts in creating an environment full of opportunities. “Considered by many as the cradle of the outsourcing and technological revolutions, in recent years India has demonstrated that its capabilities and ambitions are much greater than these early successes.”

“Only peace and stability will ensure sustainable development and long-term prosperity for our region and the world,” he said.

“It (India) has created an environment full of opportunities where its people can compete and prosper within a framework of stability and security,” he added.

Making a forceful appeal for “a wider and deeper engagement” between the countries, President Al-Assad said: “I have no doubt that with this shared spirit, today’s meeting will open new doors for all your companies and ours to find existing opportunities to grow and prosper.”

In collaboration with (PTI), (IANS)

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