How India-UAE ‘Strategic Level’ Ties Have Transformed Trade, Education, Energy, Defence in Last One Year

How India-UAE ‘Strategic Level’ Ties Have Transformed Trade, Education, Energy, Defence in Last One Year
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Last Updated: February 13, 2024, 12:35 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of UAE Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January.
(Image: PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of UAE Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January.
(Image: PTI)

Trade with UAE has increased by 16% to reach $85 million in 2022-23 during which it was also the fourth largest source of FDI with $3.5 billion investment in India. IOCL and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company signed a long-term 14-year deal for buying 1.2 MMT LNG

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on his seventh visit to the UAE since 2015 after an Indian Premier went to the nation after a gap of over 30 years. The relationship has especially blossomed in the last one year with trade rising, new agreements reached in different sectors and high-level exchanges. The bilateral relations between India and the UAE have undergone complete transformation, and elevated to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ level since 2017.

News18 explains the various facets of the bilateral relations.

Visits and Joining

There were five high-level visits that happened between India and UAE since July 2023. PM Modi came to the UAE in July 2023 on a bilateral visit and met with the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, then visited UAE again on November 30-Decemeber 1, 2023 to attend COP28 in Dubai.

Modi also met the Vice President and PM and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The UAE president visited India in September 2023 to attend the G20 Summit, and visited Gujarat, in January 2024 as a Chief Guest to the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.

UAE was also invited as Special Invitee for G20 during India’s Presidency, and UAE joined Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a Dialogue Partner and BRICS as a member in the last one year with India’s active support. During the visit of PM Modi to Dubai to attend the COP28 Summit, he was given the special status of being the only head of government who addressed the ceremonial opening of the COP-28 Plenary for the national statements. PM Modi has also launched the Global Green Credit Initiative in the presence of UAE President. India and UAE, along with other countries, launched the India-Middle East Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) and the Global Biofuel Alliance during the G20 Leaders’ Summit in 2023.

Trade Grows

Trade with UAE has increased by 16% to reach $85 million in 2022-23 during which it was also the fourth largest source of FDI with $3.5 billion investment in India. UAE has now become India’s second largest export destination and the third largest trading partner. Last year, both countries signed an MoU to establish a Local Currency Settlement System to promote the use of INR and Dirham for cross-border transaction. Three major transactions involving gold, petroleum and food commodities have been undertaken so far.

The full roll-out of the ‘Jaywan’ national debit/credit card system by UAE is expected in April-June this year. This is based on India’s RuPay stack after India’s NPCI was contracted by the Central Bank of UAE to develop ‘Jaywan’. RBI and the Central Bank of UAE signed an MoU on digital currencies last year as well. Discussions are underway to set up Hybrid Energy Parks in Gujarat with an investment of about $300 million, as per MoUs signed between both sides. EMAAR Group is also investing Rs 500 crore in a shopping mall and a multipurpose tower in the outskirts of Srinagar, which will be a major project in Jammu and Kashmir.

Energy & Education

IOCL and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed a long-term 14-year deal from 2026-39 for buying 1.2 MMT LNG under the first long-term LNG contract between India and the UAE, making UAE the second country in the region with which India has long-term LNG contracts after Qatar. An MoU has also been signed to establish Indian Institute of Technology Delhi centre in Abu Dhabi. 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 last month. Bachelors and other programmes to be started from this September.

Defence Co-operation

In January, the first India-UAE bilateral army exercise Desert Cyclone was held in Rajasthan as well as a first trilateral exercise named Desert Knight Exercise involving Air Forces India, UAE and France took place in the UAE. Both countries are exploring areas of cooperation including the joint design and development of missile systems and unmanned aerial vehicles, and jointly producing Indian variants of AL TARIQ’s all weather long-range precision-guided munition kits in India.

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