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A strong partnership is taking shape between India and the UAE: Indian Express

posted on 16/02/2016: 1201 views

NEW DELHI: The United Arab Emirates have turned into India's gateway to West Asia, focusing New Delhi's attention on an important region long neglected by Indian foreign policy, which now appears to be acquiring the geo-economic and strategic priority it deserves.

An editorial published yesterday by New Delhi based newspaper, The Indian Express, says that last week's visit by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, built on the achievements of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to the UAE last August, the first by an Indian PM in over three decades, which had demonstrated India's break from the past and recognition of the changed dynamics of the Middle East. The region's altered security and politico-economic reality, not least because of threats like Daesh or the falling price of oil, necessitates new partnerships.

The Indian Express goes on to say that although bilateral trade fell from its US$73 billion peak in 2013 to $59bn in 2014-15, the UAE, which accounts for about 9 percent of India's crude imports, remains India's third-largest trading partner and second-largest export destination, and has pledged to invest $75bn in India. Its $800bn sovereign wealth fund is a large resource pool from which investments can be made in infrastructure development in India, and progress on these lines can be seen in Abu Dhabi's interest in Indian highway projects. The joint production of defence equipment under the 'Make in India' programme is another important area of focus. H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed's visit also saw agreements, among other things, on cyberspace and cybercrime cooperation, space research, as well as collaboration on renewable energy. The MoU on currency swap between the RBI and Central Bank of UAE should ease bilateral financial transactions.

The editorial explains that a significant aspect of bilateral ties today is the closer convergence on security and counter-terrorism. "Notwithstanding a security agreement in place since 2011, progress on counter-terror and maritime security had been slow. But with the rise of Daesh, the UAE took a strong stand against terror, and has, to date, deported about a dozen Indian citizens suspected of Daesh links. While enhanced security cooperation also ties in partly with the affairs of India's 2.6 million large diaspora in the UAE, their problems had traditionally not received attention in Delhi. India's six million workers in the Gulf contribute $50bn in annual remittances, but their work and living conditions need urgent redress. The PM had directly reached out to this community on his trip. Now, closer all-round bilateral cooperation should help address their concerns," the editorial concludes. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


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