India-UAE ties turn strategic-plus, poised for take-off

The relations between India and the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf’s economic powerhouse and home to 2.6 million Indians, are poised for a take-off with the two countries signing a transformative comprehensive strategic partnership agreement and a clutch of pacts straddling diverse areas, ranging from defence, maritime transport and energy to trade, logistics and cyber security.
Underlining the increasing salience of the Gulf region in India’s diplomatic calculus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the chief guest for the country’s 68th Republic Day celebrations. Sheikh Al Nahyan is only the third leader from the energy-rich region India has hosted for the Republic Day, and signals a marked acceleration in ongoing efforts by New Delhi to shape a greater West Asia policy.
The talks in New Delhi on January 25 were all-encompassing and promises to pack more strategic heft and economic ballast in the burgeoning relationship between India and UAE.
The showpiece outcome was the elevation of India-UAE ties to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), which firmly positions the Gulf’s second largest economy as India’s preeminent partner in the region in both strategic and economic arenas.
On the strategic side, the agreement on defence industry cooperation is significant as it envisages joint manufacturing of high-end weapons systems and transfer of technology.
Taking a long-range view, another key outcome emanating from the talks in New Delhi was to impart a fresh push to the ongoing economic transformation of the India-UAE relationship, with PM Modi identifying the UAE as “an important partner in India’s growth story.”
In a move that will be closely watched in Pakistan, India and the UAE have also renewed their strategic resolve to intensify their cooperation in counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation. Read more…

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