Modi in Abu Dhabi: To strengthen ties with Gulf coun­tries

The Pak Banker - - BUSINESS -

In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi has ar­rived in the UAE as he tries to strengthen the re­la­tion­ship with the Gulf coun­tries and seek more in­vest­ment to boost In­dian econ­omy.

He ar­rived in Abu Dhabi just be­fore 3pm on Sun­day in the first visit by an In­dian Prime Min­is­ter in the past 34 years. Indira Gandhi came to the UAE in 1981.

His High­ness Shaikh Mo­ham­mad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Com­man­der of the UAE Armed Forces, re­ceived Modi at the air­port where an of­fi­cial re­cep­tion was held af­ter the vis­it­ing leader's ar­rival shortly be­fore 3pm.

Shaikh Mo­ham­mad ac­com­pa­nied Modi to the podium as the na­tional an­thems of the two coun­tries were played and 21 ar­tillery shots were fired wel­com­ing the coun­try's guest.

Prime Min­is­ter Modi in­spected a guard of hon­our and then shook hands with a group of shaikhs, min­is­ters and top of­fi­cials who had come to greet him. Shaikh Mo­ham­mad shook hands with the min­is­ters and se­nior of­fi­cials ac­com­pa­ny­ing the In­dian prime min­is­ter.

Modi will visit Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque and ICAD work­ers ac­com­mo­da­tion in Musaffa. He is also likely to hold talks with Abu Dhabi In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity in or­der to at­tract in­vest­ments.

The In­dian Prime is ac­com­pa­nied by a del­e­ga­tion com­pris­ing of Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­viser Shri Ajit Do­val, For­eign Sec­re­tary S. Jais­hankar, Min­istry of Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Sec­re­taryEast Shri Anil Wad­hwa, Am­bas­sador Shri T.P. Seetharam, Joint Sec­re­tary for Ex­ter­nal Pub­lic­ity Shri Vikas Swarup, Joint Se­cretry- Gulf Shri Thanglura Dar­long, Spe­cial Pro­tec­tion Group Di­rec­tor Shri Vivek Sri­vas­tava, Joint Sec­re­tary to the Prime Min­is­ter Shri Jawed Ashraf, Pri­vate Sec­re­tary to the Prime Min­is­ter Shri Sanjeev Singla and Prime Min­is­ter's Of­fice Di­rec­tor Deepak Mit­tal.

More than 2.6 mil­lion In­di­ans live in the UAE and their an­nual re­mit­tance is es­ti­mated to be around $14 bil­lion. Bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the two coun­tries is around $60 bil­lion, mak­ing the UAE In­dia's third-largest trad­ing part­ner for the year 2014-15, af­ter China and the US.

There is an es­ti­mated $8

bil­lion UAE in­vest­ment in In­dia of which around $3.01 bil­lion is in the form of For­eign Di­rect In­vest­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts this is a sig­nif­i­cant visit and will have num­ber of is­sues on the agenda, in­clud­ing trade, in­vest­ments, energy and se­cu­rity.

"So far, like with other Gulf States, In­dia's re­la­tions with UAE have fo­cused al­most ex­clu­sively on com­mer­cial mat­ters. In fu­ture, In­dia will need to take a more strate­gic ap­proach," said Dr Kadira Pethiyagoda, a vis­it­ing Fel­low in Asia- Mid­dle East Re­la­tions at Brook­ings Doha Cen­tre said.

"In­creased in­sta­bil­ity in Mid­dle East is threat­en­ing In­dian energy sources and ex­pat work­ers. Gulf States' strate­gic lo­ca­tion on the Western perime­ter of the In­dian Ocean, the re­gion In­dia sees as its fu­ture sphere of in­flu­ence."

He said In­dia ex­pat work­ers are cen­tral to the func­tion­ing of many Gulf States in­clud­ing the UAE.

"The Emi­rates hosts 2.6 mil­lion In­dian work­ers, around 15-20 per cent of who are white-col­lar pro­fes­sion­als. They con­sti­tute 30 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion and are the largest na­tion­al­ity group. This pro­vides Delhi a strate­gic ad­van­tage in bi­lat­eral re­la­tions."

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