Yinchuan (China): China plans to invite India and other countries with substantial Muslim population to a major trade forum, with the aim of further strengthening economic ties with the Islamic world.

The China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum which is being held for the second year was opened on Wednesday here in Yinchuan, the provincial capital of Ningxia, with a number of participants from Arab and Islamic countries.

Chinese trade officials told media that they consider extending invitations to countries like India which have substantial Muslim populations in addition to the participation of Islamic countries for the next year's event.

The forum mainly is aimed at promoting China's trade ties with the Muslim countries.

Yinchuan city is predominantly inhabited by Hui community who are mostly Muslims of mixed origins Han and Arab stock.

Hui Muslims, who constitute about half of China's 20 million Muslims who appeared well integrated with the Chinese Han majority compared to their Uyghur counterparts in the restive Xinjiang province.

Chinese government made tight security arrangements for the event to prevent any untoward incident.

While the Chinese government held its first Euroasia expo last month at Xinjiang to revive the old Silk Road, it promoted Ningxia to be hub for China-Arab trade.

The Forum was inaugurated by Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The five-day forum will focus on economic and trade cooperation in agriculture, science and technology, energy, finance, tourism and the publishing sector.

A trade fair in which vendors display halal food, Muslim commodities and energy and chemical engineering products is being held alongside the forum, now in its second year since it started in 2010.

More than 7,000 delegates, including 1,200 from 76 other countries and regions, are attending this year's forum and trade fair, according to the event's organizing committee.

The participating countries included UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Pakistan and Malaysia.

China is willing to boost cooperation with Arab countries in various fields for the benefit of the citizens represented by both sides, Jia told during a meeting with ministerial officials from Arab countries.

(Agencies)