India and UAE : Focusing on Extended Neighbourhood

India and UAE : Focusing on Extended Neighbourhood

The two day official visit of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed A1 Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to India on 10 to February 12, 2016 underlines the desire of the two extended neigh- * bours to consolidate their multi­dimensional ties. This visit, if seen in the light of the two day visit (August 16-17, 2015) of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE, assumes special significance. During Modi’s visit, both countries signed the joint statement to elevate their relations to the level of strategic partnership. Zayed A1 Nahyan’s India visit is intended to carry forward this strategic partnership in the mutually beneficial manner. Otherwise also, UAE holds special attention among the Indian policy makers. Out of the 26 million people of UAE, Indian community constitutes one-third of the population. Thus, it is not an exaggeration that UAE is called as ‘mini India’’ This Indian community is a rich source of foreign remittances to India. UAE is also a western gate­way for India to reach the oil rich region of West Asia.

India has many strategic, econo­mic and energy interests in the region of West Asia. First, India’s energy security is dependent on the supply of oil and gas from this region. India imports nearly three-fourth of her external energy from this region. Thus cultivating close ties with the UAE and other countries is crucial for India’s energy security. Secondly, there are 70 million Indians employed

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ravaged terrain. The international community is required to make serious attempt to find a lasting solution of this problem. For this the terrorist elements like IS and A1 Nusra Front need to be subjugated. Only a political consensus on the future of Syria can produce a lasting solution. Geneva peace process needs to be salvaged as soon as possible. Alternatively, if Assad regime gains military victory, it would produce an uneasy calm, not a lasting solution of the crisis.

in different countries of west Asia and Gulf region. Third, India has been and continues to be victim of religious terrorism supported and sustained from across the Indian borders. The pan-regional network of this terrorism and its religious back­ground is a cause of concern to Indian security and stability in India. Many times, Arab countries have supported Pakistan cause in Afghanistan and many terrorist elements active across Indian border have close linkages in the Middle East. During cold war, India had been a staunch supporter of Palestine cause in the Arab-Israel conflict. But in the post-cold war era India has adopted a balancing posture towards both parties. This makes India to pay more attention to this region and beginning of strategic partnership with UAE is in right direction.

Joint Statement—The three-day visit of Zayed A1 Nahyanm the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India on February 10-12, 2016 enabled both sides to hold high level consultations on various bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest. Besides consultation, both sides signed nine agreements for coopera­tion in various areas. The main points of the Joint Statement signed between the two countries are given below :

  • Both sides recognized the fact that they enjoy strong bonds of friendship based on civilizational links, age-old maritime trade and vibrant people-to-people contacts. In modem times, some factors like close geographical proximity, historical
    links, cultural affinity, natural syne: gies, shared aspirations and commcc challenges provide further impetus : this robust engagement.
  • The statement underlined tf – collective ambition of the two cour tries to strengthen their cooperatio: in several key areas, including trad and investment, security, counter terrorism, joint defence productior space cooperation, IT and electronics
  • Both leaders looked forwar; for the early signing of the Compre­hensive Strategic Partnership Agree­ment, and resolved to pursue the following areas of collaboration :

(a) Trade, Investment and Eco­nomic Cooperation—It has beer

given priority by both sides. IAE is India’s third largest trading partner after China and US. For UAE, Ind: was the largest trading partner ir 2014-15. At present the bilateral Indo- UAE trade stands at $ 59 billion which is mostly dominated by India 1 oil bill. The share of oil and gas import from the UAE is $ 31 billion Hence they decided to strengthen the trade ties with focus on diversifying non-oil trade. The leaders alsc decided to enhance bilateral trade by 60 per cent in next five years. Trade promotion measures will be put in place to diversify and enhance bila­teral trade.

UAE leader appreciated India’s dynamic economy particularly the new initiatives like ‘Make in India’ ‘Clean India’, ‘Smart City’ and Start Up programmes. Both sides also discuss’d their plan for infrastructure development. Indian side highlighted India’s experience in launching large infrastructure development program­mes and conveyed the interest of Indian companies to be the partner in the infrastructure projects under­taken by the UAE. The UAE leader appreciated India’s efforts to simplify and rationalize existing rules and relax foreign direct investment caps in key areas, including railways, defence, and insurance. Prime Minister Modi invited the UAE to be a partner in India’s growth story, and to participate in projects creating mega industrial manufacturing corri­dors, including the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor as well as the Digital India and Start-up India programs. The UAE noted its interest

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