UAE-India joint task force meeting mulls expansion

Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, and Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Minister of State for Commerce and Industry,  co-chaired the fourth meeting of the UAE – India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments (‘the Joint Task Force’) held today/yesterday in New Delhi.  Senior officials and representatives of corporate organizations from both countries took part in the meeting.

The meeting, which was held as part of ongoing efforts to cement close economic cooperation between the UAE and India and to realize the full potential of their strategic relationship, followed a meeting in November last year between Sheikh Hamed and Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister of India.. The Joint Task Force has been focusing on creating platforms and frameworks conducive to the expansion of bilateral economic and investment cooperation.

In the meeting, both sides agreed to explore further ways of facilitating investment in sectors of mutual interest with potential for economic growth. The discussions resulted in significant progress in a variety of areas and on a range of issues. The two sides deliberated in specific detail about the participation of UAE investment institutions in infrastructure development in India. They also  exchanged views on the development of a high-level framework for UAE institutions to invest in Indian infrastructure across various investment platforms. Any resulting investment decisions will be made in line with the standards and policies that the UAE institutions follow and in a way that secures viable financial returns.

Both sides assessed the progress of continuing discussions on signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL). The MoU under discussion aims to establish strategic oil reserves in India in line with common strategic interests of both countries. The meeting agreed to expedite the execution of the MoU.

Another focus of deliberations at the meeting was mutual cooperation and identification of investment opportunities in the defence manufacturing and semiconductor sectors.

Investing into critical research and development (R&D) activities has been key to the UAE’s defence strategy. For example, Abu Dhabi Ship Building (ADSB) has been successful in delivering complex naval platforms to its clients by fostering high-end technologies and focused R&D through collaboration with global industrial partners. This is a model the UAE believes can be successfully replicated with India, with the aim to open the Indian market for UAE defence products and the UAE market for Indian defence products.  In the semiconductor sector the UAE, through Globalfoundries, is a leading player with ten labs across the globe producing cutting-edge products. In India, Globalfoundries is currently working with Indian design houses in the development of intellectual property. These areas of collaboration are consistent with the Indian government's efforts to attract foreign investment in these sectors. It was agreed that discussions on these issues will continue in future meetings with a view toward concluding the talks in a mutually favourable manner..

Both the UAE and Indian delegations noted the potential to further enhance and expand their countries’ bilateral investment relationship by collaborating closely to identify bottlenecks to trade, new areas of trade and cooperation, and methods of trade promotion, with the target of increasing trade by 60% over the next five years.

Commenting on the fourth meeting of the Joint Task Force, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Co-Chair of the Joint Task Force and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, said: "This meeting is evidence of the growing momentum behind discussions between UAE and India to enhance bilateral investment relations and further explore ways of increasing trade between the two countries. The Joint Task Force has been successful in aligning both countries’ key areas of mutual interest, and we look forward to continuing our strategic dialogue. The results of our current cooperation will further consolidate the gains of our close economic partnership."

(Image via Shutterstock)

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