On day two of his visit in the UAE, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with the top leaders of the country. The focus was on trade, investment and counter-terrorism.
On Monday, PM Modi met Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
During the talks, key issues of security and trade were discussed. The two sides looked at elevating the ties to the strategic level. Apart from key bilateral issues, the leaders discussed the situation in the region, particularly in wake of the increasing threat of terrorism and extremism from various sources including the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).
The two sides also emphasized on expanding the engagement between the two countries, and agreed that there were untapped opportunities to step up economic cooperation.
“We have a range of common security and strategic concerns in the region, including terrorism and extremism. So India and UAE have everything to be a top priority for each other. This is the way I look at the UAE. The Gulf region is vital for India’s economic, energy and security interests,” Modi said in an interview to a local daily ahead of the talks. Modi also said he was keen to foster a strategic partnership, particularly in the security, energy and investment sectors, with the fastest growing Arab economy.
Modi also addressed a group of investors in Masdar city. Wooing the investors, Modi said that India had an immediate investment opportunity of USD 1 trillion. The investors told the PM that they needed steps like single window clearance in India and not cumbersome processes for doing business. Modi then promised that his government will take immediate steps to address their concerns and erase the “deficit of 34 years”.
“I will send my Commerce Minister to try and find solutions to the problems faced by some UAE investors,” Modi assured the businessmen.
PM Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the UAE in 34 years. He was received by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and his five brothers at the airport, in a departure from protocol.
“I deeply appreciate kind gesture of his Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who received me at the airport,” Modi tweeted appreciating the welcome he received. PM Modi was also accorded a ceremonial reception at the airport.
In 2014-15 UAE was India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US. Bilateral trade between India and UAE is valued at USD 60 billion per annum.
(With inputs from PTI)