India-UAE ties touch new highs

Five high-level visits between India and the UAE occurred since July 2023, fostering stronger relations between the nations in the past year….reports Asian Lite News

As many as five high-level visits by top leaders took place between India and the UAE since July 2023, as the relations between the two nations touched new highs in the past one year.

During this period, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UAE, while UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed too visited India in September 2023 to attend the G20 Summit when it was invited as a special invitee.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed also visited Gujarat in January 2024 as the chief guest of the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

An official said the India-UAE-France (UFI) trilateral was formally launched during a teleconference between External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his UAE and French counterparts.

With India’s active support, the UAE joined the SCO as a dialogue partner in May 2023 at the finance ministers’ summit in Goa. With India’s active support, the UAE also joined the BRICS as a Member on January 1, 2024.

Trade and Investment

During the visit of PM Modi to Abu Dhabi on July 15, 2023, several MoUs were signed including for the establishment of a local currency settlement system to promote the use of INR and dirham for cross-border transactions. Three major transactions involving gold, petroleum and food commodities have been undertaken so far under the mechanism, the official said.

In March 2023, the first India-UAE Investment Summit took place in Srinagar which was hosted by J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The first FDI from the UAE to J&K was also announced — EMAAR Group will invest Rs 500 crore in a shopping mall and a multipurpose tower on the outskirts of Srinagar.

An MoU to establish a branch of Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi in Abu Dhabi was signed between the two countries.

Accordingly, the interim campus of IIT-D, Abu Dhabi, has come up in record time with the first Master’s course in energy transition and sustainability commencing on January 29, while Bachelors and other programmes will start from September 2024.

Also in January, the first India-UAE bilateral army exercise — Desert Cyclone — was undertaken in Rajasthan.

In the same month, the first trilateral exercise named ‘Desert Knight Exercise’ involving the air forces India, the UAE and France took place at the Al Dhafra air base in the UAE.

More recently, EDGE and HAL signed an MOU which will explore areas of cooperation, including joint design and development of missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles, between the two nations.

During the visit of PM Modi to Dubai in November-December last year to attend the COP28 Summit, the Prime Minister was given the special status of being the only HOS/HOG, who addressed the ceremonial opening of the COP-28 Plenary. Modi had launched the Global Green Credit initiative in the presence of UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.

India and the UAE, along with other countries, launched the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) and the Global Biofuel Alliance on the margins of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in September 2023.

India also joined the AIM for Climate (AIM4C) initiative in 2023, which was introduced by the UAE and the US during the COP26 in Glasgow.

Strengthening ‘deep connect’ with diaspora

As part of his two-nation tour to the UAE and Qatar beginning Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will strengthen India’s ‘deep connect’ with its diaspora in both countries.

Roughly 840,000 Indians reside in Qatar, and at 3.5 million, the community forms the largest expatriate group in the UAE, forming an ‘important connect’ between the host and mother countries.

A day before inaugurating the BAPS Mandir, the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi on February 14, the PM will address the Indian community at an event in Zayed Sports City.

“On (the) 13th itself, the Prime Minister will be addressing a community event in Abu Dhabi to further strengthen our deep connect with our diaspora family in the UAE,” Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said at a special Ministry of External Affairs briefing on Monday.

Marking his seventh visit to the nation since 2015, the PM will hold bilateral meetings with His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, and discuss ways to further deepen, expand, and strengthen the strategic partnership between the countries.

Kwatra said that a “strong diaspora is an equally important connect between India and Qatar” with “roughly 840,000 strong, vibrant Indian community residing there”.

He added that the PM’s second visit to Qatar on February 14 “will provide an opportunity for the top leadership of the two countries to discuss ways to further deepen and strengthen our multifaceted partnership as well as exchange views on different regional and international issues of mutual importance”.

Modi’s visit to Qatar was announced hours after the release of eight Indian former naval officers, detained in the country since August 2022 and sentenced to death by Qatar’s Court of First Instance on October 26 last year.

Kwatra added that PM Modi himself “personally, constantly supervised all the developments in this case and has never shied away from any initiatives that would ensure the return of Indian nationals back to home”.

While the visit to the UAE was announced days in advance, the trip to Qatar was announced just after seven navy veterans landed in India on Monday.

Asked by reporters about this Kwatra said that the Prime Minister’s visits are planned and scheduled months in advance.

ALSO READ: Modi to Cement Diaspora Ties in UAE-Qatar Visits


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