India, UAE bolster infrastructure, cyber security cooperation


India-UAE agreements

Imparting a fresh traction to their burgeoning strategic partnership, India and the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf’s economic powerhouse, have signed pacts spanning cybersecurity, infrastructure investment, renewable energy and space cooperation. The pacts were signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held wide-ranging talks with Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in New Delhi on February 11.  

The big takeaway was the framework agreement for facilitating the participation of UAE institutional investors in infrastructure investment in India. This will enable India to tap into the Sovereign Wealth Fund of nearly $800 billion which is under the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). India has also invited the UAE to participate in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), which was set up with an initial corpus of Rs 40,000 crore ($6.5 billion approx).

“The UAE’s foreign direct investment in India is not very large in comparison to the size of the Indian economy. What we would like to see is a more attractive climate in terms of absorbing new investments from the UAE, and we are talking with each other to facilitate that,” Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said in New Delhi.

The UAE is home to 2.6 million Indians and is one of the highest contributor of remittances to India. India is looking at a target of $75 billion in investments from the UAE.During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to UAE in August 2015, the two countries had elevated the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Cyber Security and terrorism

In the backdrop of terrorism escalating in West Asia and South Asia, the two countries also signed an agreement to enhance cooperation in cyber security. Terror groups like the Islamic State have been using the internet and social media to target the vulnerable youth. In this context, the issue of a Saudi Arabia-led alliance against the IS also came up for discussion. In her meeting with Crown Prince, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj complimented UAE for supporting the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) to deal with the global scourge.

Energy cooperation

As the fastest growing economy in the world armed with a booming consumer driven economy, India has been focusing on augmenting and diversifying its energy requirements. India and UAE have signed a general framework agreement to bolster renewable energy. As per the  framework agreement, the two countries  will enhance cooperation through extensive projects, investments, cooperation in R & D in renewable and clean energy along with knowledge sharing platforms.

Some of the other pacts include cooperation in  use of Outer Space for peaceful purposes, cooperation between the concerned authorities in the field of insurance supervision, cultural cooperation,  collaboration on skill developments and mutual recognition of qualifications, exchange information on trade and business opportunities, and currency swap arrangement between the RBI and Central Bank of UAE.

The two countries, however, couldn’t conclude an agreement for civil nuclear energy cooperation.

(Sridhar Ramaswamy contributed inputs for this article)