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India can help Yemen in energy, education, say experts

Delhi,Business/Economy,Education, Wed, 18 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) Energy and higher education are among areas that have immense potential of cooperation between India and Yemen, experts said here and suggested that New Delhi should help further develop its maritime potential.


Participating in a conference on India-Yemen bilateral relations organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) here Tuesday, academicians and strategic experts identified areas where the two countries can expand their cooperation.


Hifdhallah Yahiya al-Ahmadi of Sheba Centre for Strategic Studies (SCSS), Yemen, said his country has interest in attracting Indian investments in oil and gas. He said India has been granted concessions to explore oil in some blocks in Yemen.


Speaking in the session "Indo-Yemen relations", Hifdhallah said the current cooperation between the two countries in education sector was "humble" and Yemen could benefit from the progress made by India in higher education.


"Yemen can take advantage of the education boom in India, particularly in IT and programming. Yemen can take advantage of the cost-efficient teaching materials uniquely available in India for teaching medicine, IT (Information Technology) and English," Hifdhallah said.


He said his country can also benefit from Indian expertise to set up centres of vocational education and its experience in developing small and medium industries.


Dwelling on history, he said both Yemen and India suffered from colonial occupation. He said there had been immigration between the two countries since the mid-sixteenth century which had contributed to the existence of "Indian-Yemeni community, particularly in Hyderabad in India and Hadramaut and Aden in Yemen".


Zakir Hussain, research fellow at the ICWA, said India can contribute to developing post-hydrocarbon economy of Yemen.


He suggested that India should bid for developing one of the islands of Yemen as a "model hub" having IT park, pharmaceutical centre, maritime research unit and water desalination plant.


He said Yemen can also benefit from India's experience in dry-land farming.


Hussain said India can share its democratic and electoral experiences with Yemen which has "multiplicity of tribal communities".


Intervening in the discussion, Vijay Sakhuja, director research, ICWA, said India does not export democracy.


"It (democracy in India) is a successful model. It is for others to partake...for Yemen to partake what is suitable," he said.


Ahmed A. Saif, executive director, SCSS, said both India and Yemen have a strong interest in ensuring security of maritime traffic "as piracy incurs tremendous cost to trade through seas".


Commodore Ranjit Rai (retd), vice-president, National Maritime Foundation, said India can help develop "rest and recreation" facilities in Yemeni islands such as Socotra for visiting vessels.


ICWA and SCSS signed a memorandum of understanding to explore mutual areas of interest and help engage knowledge communities of the two countries.


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