First India-GCC Senior Officers Meeting Takes Place in Riyadh, Early Finalisation of FTA Discussed
23rd March,Chennai: The Indian delegation led by Secretary (CPV & OIA), Dr. Ausaf
Sayeed attended the first round of India-GCC Senior Officers Meeting (SOM) at Riyadh, on
Monday. This SOM was in line with the MoU signed between India and the GCC countries
when EAM Jaishankar visited Riyadh in September, last year.
The meeting turned out to be crucial for the much awaited India-GCC Free Trade Agreement
(FTA). With India-GCC cooperation on investment and trade increasing over the years, all
the countries look forward to an early finalisation of the FTA.
Secretary Sayeed invited GCC countries for greater collaboration in areas of renewable
energy, food security, health, IT sector and counter terrorism. Pursuant to such
collaboration, the formation of Joint Working Groups were also proposed which would
ensure continuous progress over priority sectors for India and the GCC countries.
Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Negotiations of the GCC, Dr. Abdul
Aziz also tweeted after the meeting, “Had very rich discussion on political issues, regional
security and ways to move our partnership forward.”
With GCC being India’s largest trading bloc partner, the future of greater economic
cooperation was established through this SOM. Before the next SOM, the countries decided
to also focus on enhancing people-to-people ties and address issues of regional importance.