Indian Ambassador to the UAE, T.P Seetharam, has welcomed the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to India, saying that the visit of His Highness would help cement a "strategic partnership" between the two countries even further.
"We welcome His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to India. It is a matter of great privilege and honour for us that His Highness is visiting India soon after the visit of the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, to UAE in August 2015, and is a testimony of our close and friendly ties rooted in history, culture, economic and people-to-people exchanges over many decades," the Indian Ambassador said in a statement to WAM, on the occasion of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed's trip to India.
"During the visit of Indian Prime Minister in August 2015, we had agreed to elevate our relationship to that of a new and comprehensive "strategic partnership". The visit of His Highness will help to cement this partnership even further. A large number of bilateral, regional as well as multilateral issues are likely to be discussed. Several MoUs/Agreements, most notably in the areas of trade; investment; road transport and highways; energy including renewable energy, space, defence and human trafficking are maturing for possible signing during or after the visit as appropriate," read the statement.
The Indian Ambassador said that with bilateral trade at $60 billion, the UAE is the third largest partner for India while India is the second largest trade partner of UAE in the world. Bilateral Trade had reached a peak in 2013-14, touching US$75 billion but it decreased due to imposition of 10% duty on imports of gold in India.
"During the Indian Prime Minister’s visit, both sides had agreed to continue working together to increase bilateral trade by 60% to reach almost $100 billion by 2020. To achieve these objectives, both sides are making efforts to diversify trade to encompass areas like food, textile, pharmaceuticals, machinery and transportation. Both sides also agreed to facilitate joint projects and collaboration between the public and private sectors of both countries. There is a great opportunity to increase trade volumes as UAE is a hub for exports and re-exports in the region."
In terms of investments, there is an estimated $8 billion UAE investment in India of which around $3.13 billion (June 2015) is in the form of foreign direct investment, while the remaining is portfolio investment. The UAE is the eleventh biggest investor in India in terms of foreign direct investment, FDI. There are around 20,000 Indian companies operating in the UAE.
"More than 2.6 million Indians are working in UAE which again is a sign of our close and friendly ties. It is the largest expatriate community in the UAE and is sending substantial remittances to their families in India. This is estimated to be nearly a half of what the Indian community sends to India from the gulf region and nearly one quarter of the estimated remittances by the Indian community in the entire world," according to his statement.
In conclusion, Seetharam said, "India attaches a lot of importance to its expanding relationship with the UAE. Apart from being an economic hub, it is home to a large international community and represents the heart of Gulf and West Asia.
"The visit [of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed] will be yet another bridge that will bring our countries closer to each other by broadening and deepening our multi-dimensional engagement, in an environment of greater trust and understanding with close rapport between the visionary leaders on both sides that will benefit our peoples."