India's Minority Affairs Minister K. Rahman Khan has said that many Islamic countries were lagging in development in many sectors, and India could play an active and positive role in setting up multi-billion dollar hydrocarbon projects in these nations.
Inaugurating a two-day international conference "India and Muslim World in the 21st Century", Khan said: "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. In the past the West exploited both India and the Muslim world. The time has come for both regions to work together for the prosperity of our people."
The Minorities Affairs Minister further stated: "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."
He also urged that 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," added Khan.
Large number foreign delegates attended the conference. It unfolded various facets of development taking place at the global level, and also at national and regional levels.
Around 100 million Muslims in India are yet to benefit in terms of education, health, employment and enterprise, and this huge population must grow as a part of India's growth story, said Chairman of India's Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam.
Delivering the presidential address on Friday, Dr Alam said that India cannot grow if the Muslim and the marginalised populations are left behind.
He further stated that for the developed countries of the Muslim world, it was a huge opportunity to invest in India's education, healthcare, low-cost housing, public transport and social infrastructure. "This long term investment will make them stakeholders in India's success. It will also add a new dimension to the legacy of our common Islamic civilisation," he added. (ANI)