• Having cast its lot with the Arab League on the Syria question, India will step up its multilateral engagement with the Arab world in the coming months with a series of events that will include a visit to Cairo by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to confabulate with the Arab League and to re-engage Egypt, which is stepping out of the rigid policy confines of the Mubarak era.
  • During his three-day visit, starting on March 2, Mr. Krishna will hold talks with the Foreign Ministers of the Arab League. 
  • India will be stepping up its engagements at a time when the unfolding situation in Syria might tally with the current strategy of casting its lot with the Arab League by calling for early elections in the violence-wracked country.
  • Trade between the Arab countries and India in the last few years has exceeded $120 billion and over 60 lakh Indians live and work in the Arab world.
  • In order to maintain its pro-Palestinian credentials after two high-level interactions with Israel in Tel Aviv and New Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs officials will also ascertain the possibility of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian leadership. On the Afghan question, too, the Arab countries are trying to facilitate talks between Kabul and the Taliban.
  • But the bottom-line during the visit would be an exploration of new venues of interest and cooperation.