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PM Modi's Abu Dhabi visit comes riding on years of diplomatic investment, nurturing of ties

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Abu Dhabi | February 12, 2024 11:54:48 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the United Arab Emirates on February 13-14 is built on strong pillars of bilateral relations, economic collaboration, and people-to-people connections.

The strong ties between the two nations have been further emphasized by the special bonding between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

During his visit, PM Modi will inaugurate the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, BAPS Mandir, and will also address the Indian diaspora at an event 'Ahlan Modi'.

A significant bilateral meeting between the two leaders is scheduled, along with PM Modi's participation in the World Government Summit 2024.

Notably, PM Modi's visit to the UAE in 2015 was the first by an Indian Prime Minister in 34 years, paving the way for subsequent visits and expanded cooperation in various spheres.

Leading up to this visit, both leaders engaged in multiple high-level visits.

PM Modi visited UAE in July 2023, during which he met UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi. Later on November 30-December 1 last year, he again went to UAE to attend the COP28 in Dubai. On the sidelines of the event, he again met the UAE President and Vice President, PM and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

These visits were reciprocated with UAE President Al Nahyan's visit to India in September for the G20 Leaders Summit and his presence as the Chief Guest at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in January.

UAE President Al Nahyan visited India in September last year for the G20 Leaders Summit in New Delhi. On the margins, attended the joint launch of India-Middle East-European-Economic-Corridor and Global Biofuel Alliance. President Al Nahyan also visited Gujarat in January this year as the Chief Guest of the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

UAE was invited as a Special Invitee for G20 during India's Presidency. In February last year, the India-UAE-France (UFI) Trilateral was formally launched during a telephonic conversation between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his UAE and French counterparts

Notably, with India's support, the UAE became a permanent member of BRICS on January 1, this year and joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as a Dialogue Partner in May 2023.

Economic ties between the two nations are substantial, with the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) completing its first year in April 2023. The trade between India and UAE has grown by 16 per cent to reach USD 85 million in the fiscal year 2022-23.

UAE stood as the fourth-largest source of FDI in 2022-23, contributing USD 3.5 billion.

Several key agreements and MOUs have been signed during the visit of PM Modi to Abu Dhabi in July last year, covering areas such as local currency settlement, payment and messaging systems, renewable energy, and innovative healthcare.

The UAE's significant investments, including the opening of an office by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority in GIFT City, showcase the depth of economic cooperation.

Another MOU was for bilateral cooperation on interlinking their payment and messaging systems: NPCI was contracted by the Central Bank of UAE to develop the UAE national debit/ credit card system "Jaywan", based on India's RuPay stack. Softlaunch of the Jaywan card was done recently with the full rollout expected in April-June this year.

During UAE President's visit to Gujarat this year, again multiple MoUs were signed.

The MOUs were namely; for investment cooperation in the development of food complexes, for investment cooperation in renewable energy and for investment cooperation in innovative healthcare.

Among other investments, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will soon be opening an office in GIFT City They intend to move those global investment special purpose vehicles that have been invested in India to GIFT City. For this, special provisions were made in the budget this year to assure them on taxation matters.

RBI and the Central Bank of UAE signed an MoU on Digital Currencies in March 2023. Discussion is also going to set up Hybrid Energy Parks in Gujarat with an investment of about USD 300 million.

In March, the first India-UAE Investment Summit took place in Srinagar hosted by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha. The first FDI from UAE to Jammu and Kashmir was also announced - EMAAR Group will invest Rs 500 Cr in a shopping mall and a multipurpose tower on the outskirts of Srinagar.

In March last year, ADIA invested USD 500 million in Lenkstart and in May 2023 Mubadala invested USD 300 million in Cube Highways.

There has been multiple cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector as well.

IOCL and ADNOC entered an agreement to buy 1.2 MMT LNG under a long-term 14-year deal from 2026-39. This is the first long-term LNG contract between India and the UAE, making the UAE the second country in the region with which India has long-term LNG contracts.

In January 2024, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Gas also signed a 10-year agreement to supply 0.5 million metric tons per annum (mmtpa) of LNG to GAIL India.

An MOU was signed for promoting cooperation and investments in the area of Green Hydrogen in January 2023. Later in October,

A major cooperation in the education sector came during PM Modi's visit to Abu Dhabi in July last year. An MoU was signed to establish IIT Delhi - Abu Dhabi in the UAE. The interim campus of IIT-D, Abu Dhabi has come up in record time with the first Master's course in Energy Transition and Sustainability commencing on January 29 this year. Bachelors and other programs will also be started from Sep 2024.

In the defence sector, the first India-UAE bilateral army exercise Desert Cyclone was held in Rajasthan in January this year. The first trilateral exercise between the two countries was also held last month. It was named 'Desert Knight Exercise', in Al Dhafra air base in the UAE and it involved the Indian Air Force along with the air force of UAE and France,

Recently, EDGE and HAL signed an MOU which will explore areas of cooperation including the joint design and development of missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles. Another MOU was signed between BDL and UAE Edge subsidiary Al Tariq- under which they will jointly produce Indian variants of AL TARIQ's all-weather long-range precision-guided munition (LR-PGM) kits in India.

India and UAE enjoy strong multilateral relations. During PM Modi's visit to Dubai for the COP28 Summit last year. During this, he was given the special status of being the only Head of State/Head of Government to address the ceremonial opening of the COP-28 Plenary for the national statements.

PM Modi also launched the Global Green Credit Initiative in the presence of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.

India and UAE, along with other countries, launched the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) and the Global Biofuel Alliance on the margins of the G20 Leaders' Summit in Sep 2023.

India joined the AIM for Climate initiative (AIM4C) in 2023 which was introduced by UAE and the US in COP26 Glasgow.

Notably, India and the UAE are among each other's top trading partners with a bilateral trade of about USD 85 billion in 2022-23. UAE is also among the top 4 investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments in 2022-23.

Meanwhile, around 3.5 million strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in UAE. Their positive and well-appreciated contribution to the development of their host country has been an important anchor of our excellent bilateral engagement with the UAE (ANI)

 
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