The leading men of both India & UAE have often seen greeting each other with warm series of hugs, vigorous double-fisted handshakes and smiles at their visits
to each other’s territory. With the recent visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, a lot is expected to propel the ties with India to a higher level.
Though India and the UAE have had historical and close ties, no Indian Prime Minister had visited the Emirates in over three decades, the last one being by the then Prime Minister Late Indira Gandhi in 1981. It was August, 2015 when Mr. Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in 34 years and set in motion a chain of events that would broaden the bilateral ties beyond being just a business relationship.
ACCELERATING MUTUAL RELATIONSHIP
The strategic nature of the bilateral relationship between these two traditionally friendly countries can be clearly anticipated with the nature of deals recently inked under the government-to-government partnership.
It’s also a partnership that New Delhi is pushing to move beyond just trade and people-to-people ties though this in no way undermines the role of the 2.5 million-strong Indian diaspora in the Emirates that sends valuable remittances home.
The Security Corporation amongst the two nations can definitely not be blinded as after agreeing to elevate the relationship to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ during Modi’s August 2015 visit to the UAE and looking ‘forward to the early signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement’ during Sheikh Mohammed’s February 2016 visit to India, both sides moved to draw up and finalize a framework agreement which was recently signed by both.
The countries seem to have clicked the right chord; with UAE focusing on knowledge based industries and with India emerging as world leaders in multiple sectors like space, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, bio-technology etc there is a wide scope of corporation in technology transfer, R&D and for joint ventures.
India is the UAE’s largest trading partner, while the UAE is India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US. Trade between the two countries during 2014-15 was around $59 billion and UAE’s Jebel Ali Free Zone is home to more than 800 leading Indian companies. Today, there are many opportunities emerging as the oil-based Gulf states are focused on diversifying their economies.
Countries in the region are estimated to be spending more than $4 trillion in developing economic infrastructure suitable for nurturing non-oil business activities. More importantly, Expo-2020, the world’s third largest global event after the Olympics, is going to be held in Dubai and will boost infrastructure-related activities in the UAE, opening opportunities for Indian investors.
JOINING HANDS AGAINST TERRORISM
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, witnessed the exchange of the memorandums of understanding with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the sprawling Hyderabad House in the heart of the Indian capital New Delhi.
This is the second visit in the past year and during this visit, everyone witnesses the presence of a tangible reflection of the common path the two nations have chosen to trend in making Middle East a region of peace.
The two nations reject extremism and any link between religion and terrorism. They condemn efforts, MR. Navdeep Suri- Ambassador of India to the UAE Receiving an Honour including by States, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They also deplore efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian color to political issues and disputes, including in West and South Asia, and use terrorism to pursue their aims.
In recent years, UAE, like Saudi Arabia, have embarked on a closer relationship with India on security and counter-terrorism in addition to growing business relations. Security experts who are keen observers of sub continental geopolitics say that the visit will further deepen the strategic partnership between India and the UAE. Clearly both countries seem eager to seize the opportunity to expand bilateral ties as they see growing synergies in a rapidly transforming world.
The UAE has also enjoyed a tremendous respect in the comity of nations and played the role of mentor and diplomat. Its voice of reason for a small country resonated loudly in the forums of the world especially in the GCC and the Middle East where its leaders have been accepted as fair and balanced mediators. This credibility factor has a major influence in New Delhi and now that the UAE endorses India’s right to protect its borders as it did after the Uri attack the relationship takes on a more positive dimension.
14 BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
The 14 bilateral agreements signed during His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s three-day visit underscores the breadth of engagement that now exists between the two countries. Agreements were signed for cooperation in defense, cyber, space technology, trade and investment, energy, infrastructure, and agriculture, among others. The joint statement affirmed a commitment to a “comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century” and hoped to build on momentum from both Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UAE in 2015 and Zayed’s visit to India through regular high-level exchanges between the two countries.
The list of the Bilateral Agreements is as follows:
- Agreement on Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and UAE
- MoU between Ministry of Defence, India and Ministry of Defence, UAE on cooperation in the field of defence industry
- MoU in Institutional Cooperation on Maritime Transport
- MOU between Directorate General of Shipping, India and Federal Transport Authority- Land and Maritime, UAE on Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency as per the provisions of the Standards of Training, Certification and Watch-keeping Convention (STCW78) and amendments
- MoU between Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, India and Federal Transport Authority, Land and Maritime, UAE on Bilateral Cooperation in road, transport and highways sector
- MOU on cooperation in prevention and combating of human trafficking
- MoU for cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and innovation between Ministry of Economy, United Arab Emirates and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoSMSME), India
- MoU between Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, India and Ministry of Climate Change & Environment, UAE in agriculture and Allied sectors
- MOU on mutual exemption of entry visa requirements to the holders of diplomatic, special and official passports
- MoU between Prasar Bharati, India and Emirates News Agency (WAM), UAE for cooperation in programme exchange
- MoU between Ministry of Commerce and Industry, India and Ministry of Economy, UAE on trade remedial measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest
- Agreement on Oil Storage And Management between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company
- MOU between National Productivity Council and Al Etihad Energy Services Co. LLC
- MOU between National Security Council Secretariat, India and National Electronic Security Authority, UAE
TAKING IT AHEAD WITH VIBRANT GUJARAT
In the overall realignment of its foreign policy goals, India sees it relations with UAE central to its coordinated strategy in international relations spanning, economic, political and strategic interests. Shaikh Mohammad’s visit comes at a time when the Indian economy is opening up more sectors to foreign investments and is seen as among the few bright spots in a world economy that is witnessing a slowdown.
India’s economy is recovering strongly, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said in its latest assessment of global growth, bumping up the country’s growth forecast for the current and next year as it warned of subdued global growth that could fuel protectionism.
A high-level delegation from the UAE is participating in the 8th eighth Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit which kicked off on Tuesday, January 10, 2017 – under the theme of ‘Sustainable Economic & Social Development’ and will run until the 13th in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat state in Western India. The group is headed by H.E. Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of State, and accompanied by H.E. Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry and H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Banna, UAE Ambassador to India. They discussed the promotion of mutual investments and ways to
deepen economic cooperation taking into consideration the development goals of the two countries during the summit’s opening day.
Senior Indian diplomat Navdeep Singh Suri, the new Indian Ambassador to UAE is now playing a vital role in strengthening the relationship. The UAE is participating as a country partner of the summit for the first time along with 12 other countries. The ongoing edition was opened by H.E. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of the Republic of India, with heads of state, leading government figures and experts set to discuss cooperative and investment opportunities in a number of areas, most notably manufacturing, innovation and technology, small and medium enterprises, renewable energy, and tourism, among others.
During the summit’s opening session, H.E. Dr. bin Fahad emphasized the importance of the historic ties between the UAE and the Republic of India, which he said are driven by deep and strategic economic ties and common interests and visions in many development sectors. He also referred to their countries’ close social H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Banna- UAE Ambassador to India and cultural bonds.