New Delhi: India on Thursday expressed deep concern over the rise of extremism and terrorism in Arab countries that was tearing the fabric of societies as well as affecting regional stability.

Addressing an India-Arab seminar, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said that India was looking at attracting investments from the sizeable Sovereign Wealth Funds in the oil-rich countries which, she said, could prove to be a “game-changer" in India’s quest to build world-class infrastructure.

“Looking ahead, one can identify India’s infrastructure sector as a major growth area for Arab investments. Our government has made infrastructure upgrade and the creation of smart cities major national priorities," she said. Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain are some of the countries in the region having a surplus of sovereign wealth funds that New Delhi is keen to tap.

Referring to the unrest plaguing a number Gulf states, Swaraj said “being a longstanding partner of the Arab world, we in India are also deeply concerned with the rise of fanaticism, extremism and terrorism in parts of the region. We are concerned for the stability of these countries where terrorism and fanaticism are tearing apart the fabric of societies and also concerned over the spill-over effects on regional stability. This concern is but natural as the fates of our two regions are intertwined in many ways. Our national and energy interests are certainly important; but more important is the human bond," Swaraj said.

India has evacuated thousands of its nationals from restive Iraq and Libya in recent weeks and months. However, at least 39 Indian nationals remain in captivity in the region under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which is in control of a large swathe of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

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