India-Arab economic partnership should be elevated to a level proportionate to the strategic partnership between the two sides and opportunities should be explored to utilise the Arab world’s free trade agreements (FTAs) with the United States and the European Union for Indian businesses, a top Indian official recently told a trade chamber.

“Arab countries and Indian businesses can both benefit by participation in economic growth and development,” Sanjay Bhattacharyya, secretary, consular, passport and visa and overseas Indian affairs (CPV-OIA) in the ministry of external affairs told the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in an address titled ‘India’s engagement with Arab World’.

The thrust in future will be on innovation and start-ups, joint ventures in infrastructure and manufacturing, tapping Arab sovereign wealth funds and integrating into supply chains, Bhattacharyya said, adding cooperation in high technology, especially defence and space, has potential to be stepped up.

Apart from Egypt and Israel, the bigger economies in the Arab world, Indian business can explore untapped potential in other countries, like Iraq (hydrocarbon, construction, medical), Syria (construction, medical, education), Algeria (construction, defence), Morocco (manufacturing, FMCG, tourism), Jordan (mining, tourism) and Sudan (energy, mining, medical), he added.