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Post Israel, external affairs ministry bridges the ‘Gulf’, plans website in Arabic

Apart the usual content of the ministry — speeches, briefings and other documents — the site will also have articles written in Arabic on India and its foreign relations.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2017 19:56 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Apart the usual content of the ministry — speeches, briefings and other documents — the site will also have articles written in Arabic on India and its foreign relations.
Apart the usual content of the ministry — speeches, briefings and other documents — the site will also have articles written in Arabic on India and its foreign relations.(Source: mea.gov.in)

The external affairs ministry’s website will soon be available in Arabic too — after French and Spanish — in a bid to reach out to the Arab world following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s celebrated visit to Israel.

The ministry has started the hunt for an agency to run its portal in Arabic. Apart the usual content of the ministry — speeches, briefings and other documents — the site will also have articles written in Arabic on India and its foreign relations.

Arab nations are of key importance to India. Over 8 million Indians work in the region and India is dependent on Gulf nations for its energy security.

Though not cast in stone in each country’s case, Gulf nations have been traditionally suspicious of Israel. Many experts believe that the current Qatar-Gulf stand-off gives Israel a rare opportunity to normalise its presence in the region and undermine the Hamas and get closer to Saudi Arabia, whose writ runs large in most of the Gulf.

Reaching out to Arab countries has remained an important aspect of the government.

“Arab countries are important to us in many ways. And reaching out to the Arab world has always been an objective of the government,” said an official.

He pointed out that PM Modi had visited three Gulf countries — the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and hosted the President of Palestine before visiting Israel, before adding that diplomacy cannot be a “zero sum game”.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, was the Republic Day guest this year. Prime Minister Modi had received the crown prince at the airport.