State visit to India will strengthen ties: Gargash

On the occasion of the forthcoming official visit to India by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on Sunday spoke of the visit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The minister confirmed that the visit will take place from February 10 to 13, to New Delhi and Mumbai. A high-level delegation of UAE ministers, government officials and businessmen representing different sectors of the economy will accompany the Crown Prince.

The visit is designed to build on the outcomes of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UAE in August 2015 by advancing and strengthening trade, political and security cooperation.

The minister said that the UAE hopes to see areas of further cooperation across a variety of sectors, including energy, aviation, technology, infrastructure and SMEs.

"This visit is part of the UAE’s efforts to build relationships across Asia, strengthen its role as a gateway into the Middle East and serve as the bridge between the economic poles of the East and West.

"These bridges we build with countries and cultures are shaped by the UAE’s principles of peace, prosperity, stability, tolerance and unity. These have formed the basis of our relationships for more than four decades, and will continue to be the foundation of our engagement with other nations."

The Crown Prince’s visit to India underscores the increasing depth and vast potential of the UAE-India relationship, providing both countries with the opportunity to discuss shared agendas, and advance important areas of cooperation including trade and investment, economic growth, energy, climate change and regional stability.

Dr. Gargash said, "The close friendship between the UAE and India is built on common goals, values and a sense of shared history – one that goes as far back as ancient pearling routes. Today, the mutually beneficial economic relationship between the two countries is dynamic. India is the UAE’s largest trading partner while the UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner. In the 1970s, trade was valued at $180 million annually; today it is valued at $59 billion.

"The UAE sees this visit as an opportunity to enhance its economic relationship even further, with a number of agreements due to be announced in sectors of importance to both countries.

The UAE’s confidence in India’s economic development is reinforced by the many initiatives and reforms established by the Modi government, which have helped pave the way for the country’s future growth, and the UAE commends Prime Minister Modi for his visionary economic development strategy, and, as a trusted partner, the UAE can be counted on to provide ongoing support.

"As we look ahead to the future, the UAE-India relationship will continue to move into one of strategic importance.

With regard to the subject of promoting regional stability, the minister said that the UAE looks forward to expanding dialogue and cooperation with India in areas such as protecting regional security, confronting terrorism and extremist ideologies, and enhancing maritime and cyber security.

He said, "In energy and innovation, the UAE and India will continue to discuss opportunities to develop and share technologies that enable both countries to improve energy security and access, while expanding their renewable energy footprints.

"Of course, the relationship between the UAE and India extends beyond economic and political cooperation, built on the back of centuries of trade and cultural exchange.

"The Indian community living and working in the UAE represents the Emirates’ largest expatriate group and plays a key role throughout the fabric of our society."

Dr. Gargash said that the UAE wishes to continue to harness these bonds in order to further expand societal and cultural exchange between the two countries. In doing so, the UAE hopes that the bonds of trust, understanding and respect will continue to flourish into the future.

‘Global Coalition to Counter Daesh’

Speaking on the ‘Global Coalition to Counter Daesh’, Dr. Gargash re-affirmed the UAE’s firm support for the coalition. He said that the UAE will continue to support the coalition’s course.

He noted that while the Iraqi forces are making progress in the bid to defeat Daesh, the government in Baghdad should increase its efforts and cooperation in order to counter it.

Dr. Gargash said the UAE’s position has always been clear, and it is that countering Daesh requires political action in Baghdad that includes, and does not exclude, the Sunnis, in addition to the necessary support these efforts with ground forces against this organisation.

He added, "The UAE has an unwavering position on supporting the forces fighting Daesh. I am not talking about thousands of troops, but I am talking about troops that back the forces fighting on the ground, if the Global Coalition believes that the US should take on the leadership in this effort."

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