President Pratibha Patil on Sunday night arrived in the capital of the United Arab Emirates on her maiden visit to the Gulf that will also take her to Syria with an aim to boost India's ties with the oil-producing region.
The highlights of President Patil's visit to the UAE will be launching of an Indian Workers Resource Centre designed to provide a 24-hour helpline and counselling services to workers from the country who are in distress.
During her nine-day tour, Patil will visit Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah in the UAE and will later go to Damascus.
Patil, who is visiting the UAE at the invitation of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, will be meeting the top leaders in the country on a whole range of issues aimed at further consolidating bilateral ties.
Commenting on bilateral ties, Patil told reporters on board that "there are no irritant" in the relations with both the countries and her visit will help invigorate the dialogue with the leadership in UAE and Syria and bring momentum in ties.
Earlier, the President was seen off at Rashtrapati Bhawan by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh besides Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma and Army Vice Chief PC Bhardwaj.
UAE has the largest expatriate Indian community--1.75 million -- whose contribution to the development of the country has been widely appreciated.
Both the UAE and Syria support the Indian position on Kashmir issue and back New Delhi's quest for a permanent seat in UN Security Council.
Accompanied by a business delegation, the President would be addressing the captains of business and industry in the UAE.
The Gulf country has emerged as the top destination for India's exports with 13.41 per cent share of country's total export in 2009-10. It also ranks among the top five suppliers of crude oil to India.
In the second leg of her tour, the President will visit Syria from November 26 to 29 at the invitation of President Bashar Al Assad.
Union Minister of State for Power Bharatsinh Solanki and three MPs are accompanying the President.