New Delhi, Sep 4 (UNI) India and Syria have agreed to continue close consultations and cooperation on issues of mutual interest both bilaterally and at multilateral and international forums. Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan and Syrian vice minister of foreign affairs and expatriates Fayssal Mekdad held a meeting through video conference on Thursday.
The meeting provided an opportunity to comprehensively review the bilateral relations and chart a road map for further cooperation in areas of mutual interest, the ministry of external affairs said.
“India-Syria relations have been historically warm and friendly, which have been nurtured through regular exchange of visits,” it added.
Syria has been deeply appreciative of India’s unwavering support and continued developmental assistance during its crisis years, and has extended unconditional support to India’s candidatures for various multilateral and international organisations, the minister said.
Dr Mekdad thanked the Indian government for the timely gift of 10 MT of medicines in July 2020 to help Syria in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic as also for the generous provision of 1,000 scholarships to Syrians under the Study in India Programme, besides 90 slots under ITEC and 25 slots under ICCR General Scholarship Scheme given annually.
483 Syrians had benefited from an artificial limb fitment camp organized by the ministry in Damascus in January 2020 in partnership with the Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BVMSS), Jaipur, it said.
The Indian government has earlier provided US$ 12 million in humanitarian assistance to the Syrian government since the conflict broke out in 2011.
Furthermore, India has set up a biotech park and an IT Centre and extended USD 265 million in line of credit for projects in steel and power sectors.
Mr Murleedharan, in turn, apprised Dr Mekdad about the steps the government was taking to address both public health and socio-economic challenges posed by Covid-19.
There was also a brief discussion on the progress made by India in vaccine research and development, the ministry said.
Thanking Dr Mekdad for his assessment on the evolving situation in Syria and the region, he reiterated India’s hope to see a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the decade-long Syrian conflict, through a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned dialogue, involving all parties to the conflict that takes into account the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people while preserving the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country.