Syrian leader in key India trip
The Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, has arrived in India on a five-day state trip.
The visit - the first by a Syrian president in three decades - is expected to focus on promoting co-operation in trade and energy, reported BBC.
Mr Assad will holds talks with the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
India, which is looking for new sources of energy, has been reaching out to countries like Syria and Iran despite its close relations with the US.
In December 2005, India and China won a joint multi-million dollar bid to buy Petro-Canada's 37% stake in Syrian oilfields.
Mr Assad arrived in the Indian capital at the head of a large delegation which included his foreign, trade and telecommunication ministers.
He will also visit the city of Bangalore, India's information technology hub, during the trip.
India has long-standing ties with the Arab world but lately has also developed strong relations with Israel.
Ahead of President Assad's visit, a Syrian cabinet minister, Bouthaina Shaaban, said he hoped India's ties with Israel would not come at the expense of its historic links with the Arabs.