President to visit UAE, Syria from Nov 21

A highlight of her visit to the UAE will be the launching of an Indian Workers Resource Centre which is designed to provide a 24-hour helpline and counselling services to workers from the country who are in distress.

The UAE has the largest expatriate Indian community which numbers nearly 1.75 million and their contribution for the development of the country was widely appreciated.

Both the UAE and Syria support the Indian position on the Kashmir issue and back New Delhi's quest for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Briefing reporters on the nine day visit, Secretary (East) Latha Reddy said that the 24-hour helpline was being started by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) to deal with problems faced by large number of Indian workers as five million NRIs live in the Gulf region.

The helpline would facilitate early succour to the distressed employees, she said adding that the Ministry of External Affairs and the MOIA are organising a meeting here of the Heads of Missions in the Gulf region by end of this month.

Patil, who is visiting the UAE at the invitation of its President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will be meeting the top leaders in that country. Apart from Abu Dhabi, she would travel to Dubai and Sharjah.

Accompanied by a business delegation, the President would be addressing the captains of business and industry in the UAE. The Gulf country has emerged as the top destinations for India's exports with 13.41 per cent share of country's total export in 2009-10. It also ranks among the top five suppliers of crude oil to India.

In the second leg of her tour, the President will visit Syria from November 26 to 29 at the invitation of President Bashar Al Assad.

Significantly, this is the first visit by an Indian President to Syria.

During her talks with Syrian leaders, the President will discuss regional and international issues including the Middle East peace process.

Assad had paid a state visit to India in June 2008 which strengthened the bilateral political and economic ties.

India's engagement in the hydrocarbon sector with Syria has been rewarding and state-owned OVL has investments in Al-Furat Petroleum Company which has struck oil in one block. 

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