Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrived in New Delhi on Wednesday evening. He is set to formally meet PM Modi and President Mukherjee on Thursday. India and UAE will discuss ways to boost trade, investment and security cooperation between the two countries.
Apart from boosting economic ties between India and UAE, the two countries will look to strengthen existing cooperation in information sharing and counter-terrorism in the wake of the rising terror threat from ISIS.
“The visit takes place after we have decided to elevate our relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership during our Prime Minister’s visit to UAE in August last year and this will provide an opportunity to have detailed discussions to consolidate the domains of existing partnership,” said Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
Al Nahyan’s 3-day visit to India is seen as a reciprocation of PM Modi’s trip to the UAE six months ago. Al Nahyan’s delegation to India includes several top ministers and over 100 business tycoons and CEOs of top companies in the UAE.
President Pranab Mukherjee will host a private lunch for Al Nahyan on Thursday afternoon and he will attend a working dinner with PM Modi tomorrow evening.
A number of pacts spread over different sectors like nuclear energy, oil, IT, aerospace and railways are expected to be signed tomorrow.
Economy of UAE, one of the leading producers of oil, has been hit hard by falling crude prices and it is expected that the Gulf nation will make significant investments in India’s energy and infrastructure sectors from its sovereign wealth fund of USD 800 billion.
Joint production of defence equipment is another key area where both the countries are looking to cooperate.
During Modi’s visit to UAE, it was decided to increase the current volume of trade between India and UAE by 60 per cent in the next five years, said Wadhwa while explaining how the two sides are drawing action plans to achieve that target.
India is UAE’s number one trading partner while the Gulf nation is India’s third largest trading partner after the US and China. UAE is India’s second largest export destination.
After Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani visited India in March last year, Al Nahyan is another important leader to visit India from the Gulf region which is home to 7 million Indians who are a major source of remittances.
On Friday, Al Nahyan will travel to Mumbai where he will visit Bombay Stock Exchange and interact with select industry leaders before leaving.
(With inputs from PTI)