India, UAE upgrade ties to strategic partnership, focus on terror

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates has been a game-changer of sorts, transforming New Delhi’s relationship with its key economic partner in the energy-rich Gulf region. In a major leap forward, the two countries elevated their relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership that entails closer counter-terror cooperation and deepening of security and economic ties across the spectrum. “The visit of an Indian Prime Minister to UAE after 34 years marks the beginning of a new and comprehensive strategic partnership between India and UAE in a world of multiple transitions and changing opportunities and challenges,” said the joint statement after wide-ranging talks between Mr Modi and the top leadership of the UAE. Here are key outcomes and highlights of the joint statement that maps out the future trajectory of the India-UAE relationship.

  • Elevate the India-UAE relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
  • The rapidly expanding economic partnership makes India UAE’s second largest trading partner and UAE India’s third largest trading partner, thus making it a gateway for India to the region.
  • The two countries have the potential to build a transformative economic partnership, not only for sustained prosperity of their two countries, but to also advance progress in the region and help realise the vision of an Asian Century. 
  • A common vision of progress and prosperity faces challenges from many shared threats to peace, stability and security in the region. A shared endeavour to address these challenges, based on common ideals and convergent interests, is vital for the future of the two countries and their region.
  • The two nations also rejected extremism and any link between religion and terrorism condemning efforts, including by states, to use religion to justify, support and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They also deplored efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and disputes, including in West and South Asia, and use terrorism to pursue their aims.
  • Coordinate efforts to counter radicalization and misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred, perpetrating and justifying terrorism or pursuing political aims. The two sides will facilitate regular exchanges of religious scholars and intellectuals and organise conferences and seminars to promote the values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare that is inherent in all religions.
  • Denounce and oppose terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, calling on all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they exist, and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice.
  • Enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building.
  • Work together for the adoption of India’s proposed Comprehensive convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
  • Promote cooperation in cyber security, including prevention on use of cyber for terrorism, radicalization and disturbing social harmony.
  • Establish a dialogue between their National Security Advisors and National Security Councils. The National Security Advisors, together with other high level representatives for security from both nations, will meet every six months. The two sides will also establish points of contact between their security agencies to further improve operational cooperation. 
  • Cooperate to strengthen maritime security in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, which is vital for the security and prosperity of both countries.
  • Cooperate in manufacture of defence equipment in India.
  • Establish a Strategic Security Dialogue between the two governments.
  • The establishment of UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund, with the aim of reaching a target of USD 75 billion to support investment in India’s plans for rapid expansion of next generation infrastructure, especially in railways, ports, roads, airports and industrial corridors and parks.
  • Facilitate participation of Indian companies in infrastructure development in UAE.
  • Promote strategic partnership in the energy sector, including through UAE’s participation in India in the development of strategic petroleum reserves, upstream and downstream petroleum sectors, and collaboration in third countries.
  • Strengthen cooperation between UAE’s increasingly sophisticated educational institutions and India’s universities and higher research institutions. Promote scientific collaboration, including in the areas of renewable energy, sustainable development, arid agriculture, desert ecology, urban development and advanced healthcare.
  • Promote cooperation in space, including in joint development and launch of satellites, ground-based infrastructure and space application. Prime Minister Modi welcomed UAE’s plan to set up the West Asia’s first Space Research Centre at AI Ain and plans to launch a Mars Mission in 2021.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked UAE for its support for India’s candidature for permanent membership of a reformed United Nations Security Council.
  • People-to-people were at the heart of India-UAE relations and both governments will continue to nurture these relations and ensure the welfare of their citizens, especially the workers, in each other’s country, as also work together to prevent human trafficking.

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