HRD Minister Arjun Singh begins Gulf visit | india | Hindustan Times
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HRD Minister Arjun Singh begins Gulf visit

Arjun Singh arrived in Saudi Arabia for a visit aimed at strengthening academic ties between the two countries.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 22:07 IST

Carrying a letter from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for King Abdullah, Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh arrived in Saudi Arabia on Monday for a visit aimed at strengthening academic ties between the two countries.

A highlight of the visit is expected to be the signing of an agreement for an Educational Exchange Programme between Saudi Arabia and India that will focus on attracting Saudi students to Indian educational institutions.

Against 38 Saudi students in India in 2003, the number rose to 104 in 2004. India wants this number to increase further in the coming years, officials said.

Singh will also call on King Abdullah and witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi and Jeddah's King Abdul Aziz University. He will participate in a reception hosted by Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) Old Boys Association in Riyadh and launch the Saudi-Indian Medical Forum at Jeddah.

The visit, which will also take Singh to the United Arab Emirates, is expected to strengthen academic relations between India and the two countries that have a sizable number of Indian expatriates.

Singh's trip is a sequel to the Delhi Declaration signed during the Saudi king's visit to India in January, when he was the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade. The two countries had then pledged to work in closely in various fields, including information and communication technology.