The second meeting of the UAE-India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments (HLTFI) was held on Monday at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai where more than 30 government and private sector representatives from India and the UAE were present.
The HLTFI, co-chaired by Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, and by Anand Sharma, Union Cabinet Minister in charge of Commerce and Industry and Textiles, Government of India, was established in April 2012 as a platform to address mutual issues associated with existing investments between the two countries and to promote and facilitate cross-border investments.
The first meeting of the HLTFI, held in Abu Dhabi in February 2013, resulted in a wide-ranging discussion on matters of mutual interest, including the identification of priority sectors of engagement for possible investments in the two countries.
Since then, work conducted by the HLTFI to strengthen and develop bilateral relations in the field of investments culminated in the signing, in December, 2013, of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), serving as a platform for promotion and reciprocal legal protection of investments in both countries.
As a result of decisions taken during the inaugural meeting of the HLTFI, several joint working groups have been created to address issues of mutual interest in the following sectors: Infrastructure, Investment and Trade, Energy, Manufacturing and Technology, Aviation, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Legacy Issues. These groups have given their recommendations and the same were presented today to the two co-chairs.
Building on these solid foundations, today’s meeting of the HLTFI made progress on a number of fronts including:
- Discussions were held on supporting the establishment of a strategic petroleum reserve in India in a manner serving the common strategic interests of both countries and based on the principles of long term strategic partnership and cooperation;
- Wide-ranging discussions took place on priority sectors of engagement for channelling investments in the two countries;
- Discussions took place on expediting the resolution of current pending issues associated with existing UAE investments in India (Etisalat, Emaar and DP World), and a plan of action was agreed for the Legacy Issues sub-working group to address and resolve these issues;
Acknowledged Taqa, the Abu Dhabi-based international energy and water company, as the largest private operator of hydroelectric plants in India, following its acquisition, signed on Saturday 1st March, 2014 in New Delhi, of two hydroelectric plants in India.
The equity invested by the Taqa-led consortium in the acquisition of the two hydroelectric plants will amount to approximately INR 3,820 crores ($616 million ; Dh2.26 billion), of which 51% is from Taqa. The consortium will also acquire the assets' non-recourse project debt. The agreement follows the signing of the UAE-India Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement in December 2013 and the UAE’s commitment at the last HLTFI meeting to invest $2 billion in India's infrastructure sector.
The UAE and India are significant trading partners and bilateral trade between the two countries is expected to continue its important growth in years to come. Alongside trade, the HLTFI would seek to achieve a similar growth path for investment with a clear roadmap between the two countries.
Commenting on the 2nd meeting of the HLTFI, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Co-Chair of the HLTFI and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, said: "Today we have advanced the work of the Joint Task Force, and laid the foundation for further mutually beneficial investments and areas of common interest. We look forward to the ratification of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement, and the resolution of the outstanding issues identified at our first meeting. Together, our combined efforts will help to further strengthen bilateral trade relations and pave the way for continued strategic dialogue."
Commenting on the 2nd meeting of the HLTFI, Anand Sharma, Co-Chair of the HLTFI, underlined India’s status as a major destination for foreign investments and the opportunities that exist for the UAE, especially in infrastructure areas such as roads and highways, power and utilities, civil aviation, ports, renewable energy, urban infrastructure, etc. and participation through the Infrastructure Debt Funds.
He also highlighted India’s desire to participate in the hydrocarbon sector in the UAE, especially in the upstream petroleum sector. He also said that he sees greater opportunities for UAE investors as strategic partners in India’s growth story.
The next meeting of the UAE – India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments will be held on a mutually agreed date and location.