Barely a day after unfurling the tricolour at the majestic Red Fort in New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fly down to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for his first visit to the energy-rich and enterprising Gulf region, home to the 7-million strong Indian diaspora. Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the two cities Mr Modi will visit on August 16 and 17, are looking to roll out the red carpet for Mr Modi, who will become the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 34 years after Indira Gandhi.
The focus will be on intensifying economic ties across the spectrum, but the show-stealer will be clearly the grand public event at Dubai International Cricket Stadium, where around 40,000 people, mostly Indians, will be all eyes and ears to see and hear the man who has carved a reputation for himself as a stage performer. In an act reminiscent of Madison Square Avenue panache, PM Modi is expected to enthrall them with his inspiring rhetoric, exhorting them to contribute their bit to the resurgence to the motherland.
The UAE is home to around 2.6 million Indian diaspora, who are the largest contributor of remittances to India. Remittances of around USD 12.64 billion was made by the Indian community in UAE in 2014.
Bilateral talks between both countries are expected to focus largely on trade, investment and security. The total trade between India and UAE is close to USD 60 billion (as of 2014-15). A Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection agreement was signed between both countries in 2013.
The UAE is the tenth biggest foreign investor in India, with an estimated FDI of USD 3.01 billion flowing into the country(as of January 2015). It is also the third largest trading partner of India after China and the US. This visit is expected to diversify investments and bilateral trade, with Mr Modi looking to woo investors for sections like telecom, aviation, ports, road transport. The trip is also expected to revive the India-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) FTA talks according to reports.
This visit marks Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to the Gulf region after taking over as Prime Minister. The two sides are also expected to have detailed talks to enhance security cooperation against the backdrop of the rise of growing extremism in the region. Cooperation in maritime security, counter-terrorism and prisoner swap are some of the major issues expected to be discussed during the talks.
Factoids: India-UAE Bilateral Relations
- UAE home to Indian diaspora of around 2.6 million people
- Total bilateral trade between India and UAE close to USD 60 billion as of 2014-15
- UAE is India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US
- India received remittances around USD 12.64 billion in 2014 from UAE, which is the highest contributor to India’s remittances.
- Indira Gandhi was the last Prime Minister to visit UAE in 1981
- UAE is the 10th biggest foreign investor in India with an FDI of around USD 3.01 billion
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