New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Trade between India and the Muslim world had crossed $200 billion and efforts should be made to double it in 10 years by diversifying and expanding commercial and economic ties in various fields, including IT and human resource development, a minister said Friday.
Addressing the two-day international conference on 'India and the Muslim World in 21st Century' here Friday, Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan said many Islamic countries were lagging in development in many sectors and India could play an active and positive role in setting up multibillion dollar hydrocarbon projects in these nations.
India is a major importer of hydrocarbon energy from the Gulf countries and the six million expatriate community sends billions of dollars to India in the form of remittances.
According to Khan, in the past the West exploited both India and the Muslim world. The time had come for both regions to work together for the prosperity our people, he said.
"In this era of globalisation, India has opened its doors for investment in various sectors. It is a golden opportunity for Muslim countries, especially the Arab business community, to invest heavily in this country. The future for investment is Asia as the West is in the grip of economic recession," Khan stated.
He urged Islamic countries to focus on development and avoid conflicts. The Muslim world should not become victim of divide and rule policy. The end of Cold War has brought about a fundamental change in India's policy towards the Middle East.
India has witnessed high economic growth since 1990s and the resultant surge in energy demand meant that India was now looking to the Muslim world as its principle partner in the hydrocarbon sector. The region represents a new and interesting learning curve for India as its seeks to be a major actor on the world stage, he said.