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India calls for greater counter-terror cooperation with Gulf


New Delhi: Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Saudi Arabia, India Wednesday called for expanding security cooperation with the Gulf region, home to 4.5 million-strong Indian diaspora, to combat “common threats of terrorism and Islamist radicalism”.

“India has a vital stake in the stability, security and economic wellbeing of the Gulf,” Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor said at the two-day India-Arab Economic Summit here.

“Emerging common threat perceptions create further opportunities for Gulf-India cooperation in the future,” Tharoor said.

The conference entitled ‘Beyond the Meltdown: Search for Options’, has been organized by the Indo-Arab Economic Cooperation Forum and Institute of Objective Studies.

Alluding to the ongoing transformation in India and the Gulf world, Tharoor said: “This envisages jointly preparing to meet emerging domestic and regional challenges, foremost being the common threat from terrorism and Islamist radicalism.”

“Thus, both the Gulf region and India need to cooperate and coordinate their efforts to combat such forces to meet the challenge of terrorism and religious extremism,” he said.

India has instituted a political and strategic dialogue with nearly all countries in the region and this is being intensified, he stressed.

Tharoor’s remarks come days before Manmohan Singh’s likely visit to Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s most influential nation, in the next four months. An extradition treaty, aimed at expanding security and counter-terror cooperation, is expected to be signed during the visit.