Months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UAE, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will be in New Delhi, starting Feb 10, to impart an added momentum to the transforming relations between Asia’s third largest economy and the economic powerhouse in West Asia.
With India aiming to increase its outreach to the Middle East, the UAE, which is India’s leading trade partner in the region, is vital for India’s strategic interests.
During his three-day-long visit to India, Sheikh Zayed’s major focus will be on upscaling economic relations. This is reflected in the composition of his delegation, which will include ministers, businesspersons and economists. “While visiting India, Sheikh Mohamed will discuss with senior Indian official ways to strengthen cooperation and friendship between the two countries in the light of continuous coordination and consultations regarding regional and international issues of mutual concern,” the UAE’s official news agency Wam reported.
Prime Minister Modi had visited UAE in August 2015, becoming the first prime minister to visit the Gulf country after a gap of 34 years. During the visit, India and UAE elevated the relationship to a new and comprehensive strategic partnership. The oil-rich Gulf nation had announced that it would enhance its investments in India to $75 billion (about Rs 5 lakh crore), including through a dedicated infrastructure fund.
The visit shows the new energy in the partnership between the two countries. UAE is also the largest investor in India among the Arab countries and accounts for 81.2 per cent of the total investments from the region.
Bilateral trade between India and UAE is valued at around $60 billion, which made the UAE India’s third-largest trading partner for the year 2014-15 after China and the US.
During Mr Modi’s visit the two countries also stepped up cooperation in security and defence. In the backdrop of rising terror groups like Islamic State (IS), the two countries signed pacts to strengthen their cooperation against terror.
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