New Delhi, Feb 14: India has abiding interest in the Middle East and hence it is participating at the Ministerial Meeting on 'Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East' at Warsaw in Poland.
"India is participating at the Ministerial Meeting on 'Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East' in Warsaw on February 13-14 at the level of Secretary. India has abiding interest in the region," MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar told reporters here.
"Given India's multiple interests, it was important for India to be represented in a major meeting on the region," he said.
"Our participation and the level of our representation reflects the nature of our engagement with the region," Mr Kumar said adding - the 'Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East' conference in Warsaw is a conference being organized at the initiative of Poland and the US on the subject of peace and security in West Asia.
He said the region hosts a 9.2 million-strong Indian community, whose well-being and welfare is of paramount importance for India.
"This region is the source of over 50 per cent of our oil and 70 per cent of our gas needs. It is also a large trading partner, accounting for over US$ 110 billion of India’s trade in 2016-17. Mutual investment in energy and other sectors is also growing," he pointed out.
The emergence of terrorist groups like the ISIS poses a common challenge to India and the countries of the region. "The region is also critical for our maritime security and security of the sea lanes of communication. Given our multiple interests, it was important for India to be represented in a major meeting on the region".
The Warsaw Conference is being organised amid an international mixture of renewed hope and harsh criticism.
The two-day ministerial conference had drawn cheers and jeers since it was announced last month and the US has been going to great lengths to explain its objectives to those who had expressed concerns about it.
The US officials have tried to underline that the meet should not be treated as 'anti-Iran meeting' but Iranian policy would come under scanner as in contemporary setting one cannot be talking about the challenges in Middle East without referring to Iran. (UNI)