Abu Dhabi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden visit to the UAE provides a strategic opportunity to draw a new blueprint for taking bilateral ties forward, including in areas of counterterrorism, defence and economy, the Emirate's Foreign Minister said today.
“Our shared values and strong bilateral ties provide an important basis on which the UAE and India can elevate their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership,” Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UAE provides an opportunity to chart a new course in our partnership for the 21st century. We look forward to a productive exchange of ideas covering a wide range of economic, political and security issues of mutual interest,” he said ahead of Modi's two-day visit, the first by an Indian premier in 34 years.
Noting that his visit comes at a time when bilateral ties have never been warmer, he said: “The prime minister's visit is of strategic significance in our bilateral relations and follows on the heels of growing diplomatic, economic, energy and defence cooperation between our two countries.”
The Minister said that there are “particularly strong opportunities for UAE-India security cooperation in combatting terrorism, which both our governments condemn in the strongest terms in all its forms and manifestations, as well as in the maritime domain”.
From a foreign policy and regional security perspective, the UAE has placed India at the forefront of its international partnerships and recognises the importance of broadening a comprehensive dialogue with India that deepens and diversifies the areas of engagement, he said.
Building on millennia-old history of bilateral cooperation and exchanges and with a current trade balance of around 60 billion dollars, the two countries have a “robust economic relationship, which is underpinned and sustained by various bilateral agreements” signed over the last years, including the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
“The UAE looks forward to the next meeting of the UAE-India Joint Committee - a key platform for dialogue - on September 3, 2015, which will present yet another opportunity to reflect on what steps we can take to further increase links between the UAE and India,” he said.
The Minister said that India is its second largest trading partner for the UAE, which in turn is India's third largest trading partner.
He said that UAE companies have a “long history” and “considerable experience” in working in India, and that “similarly, around 45,000 Indian companies operate successfully in the UAE”.
The Emirate deeply values the important contributions that the large Indian community living and working in the UAE has made to its economy and society, he said. “We look forward to further facilitating the movement of people and expanding aviation ties between our countries in the years to come,” he added.