(MENAFN - Arab News) A leading Indian minister says India and Saudi Arabia should strengthen trade and investment ties to boost the economies of the two nations.
Speaking to Arab News, Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhali Kutty, who is the minister of industry in the state of Kerala, also outlined his government's efforts to help Gulf returnees by launching support and job creation programs.
The minister said he was happy to perform Umrah with his three sisters and two brothers. "Because of my busy political life I was not able to spend more time with them. The Umrah trip has made us happy and spiritually energized."
The minister said India's strategic geographic location and religious and cultural position has played a big role in strengthening ties with Saudi Arabia. "Cultural relations play a big role in enhancing bilateral cooperation," he said.
Kutty said Saudis like Keralite workers. "Yesterday, I met a Saudi chamber official at a Madinah hotel. He told me that he wanted to recruit more Keralite workers for his company." He urged Keralites to keep up that reputation.
The minister also spoke about the different phases in Saudi-Indian relations. "Earlier we came here only for Haj and Umrah. After the discovery of oil, millions of Indians came for jobs. Now we want to establish industrial cooperation. Saudis can invest in India, which has become a major economic power, and Indians can invest in the Kingdom, which offers a lot of opportunities," he said.
On Sunday, addressing a reception organized by the Kerala Muslim Cultural Center's central committee in Jeddah, the minister highlighted his government's efforts to promote Kerala as a major IT hub in the world.
Siraj Ebrahim Sait, son of the famous Indian Muslim leader and national secretary of the Indian Union Muslim League, urged all Indians who believe in secularism to work together to prevent Narendra Modi - who is accused of masterminding ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Gujarat - from becoming the next prime minister.
"The Congress Party should mobilize the support of all secular forces to stop Modi," he told Arab News.
Mohammed Alungal, chairman and managing director of Al-Abeer Medical Group, commended Kutty for his effective leadership.
Sadiqali Shihab Thangal, president of the Muslim League in Malappuram district, K.P. Mohammed Kutty, president of KMCC's national committee, and other leaders spoke at the event.
The committee handed the minister a check for two million rupees to establish a center in the name of the late C.H. Mohammed Koya, a former Muslim League leader.