India and the UAE agreed to set up a multi-billion dollar fund to invest in Indian infrastructure projects and cooperate in producing military gear and nuclear energy even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the two sides had spoken in “one voice” about their desire to counter terrorism.
Modi’s remarks during an address to a crowd of 40,000 at a Dubai stadium and a joint statement issued at the end of his two-day tour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were seen as a veiled message for Pakistan, which India accuses of backing terrorist groups.
“We (India and the UAE) have spoken in one voice against terrorism,” Modi said without naming Pakistan.
“Those who can understand will understand ...We are victims of terrorism for 40 years. Many innocent people have lost their lives,” he said.
“Those who indulge in terrorism must be punished. That is the message resonating here today,” he said and emphasised that the era when the nomenclature of “good and bad terrorism” was acceptable was over.
“Good terrorist, bad terrorist, good Taliban, bad Taliban, this won’t work. A decision has to be taken: Are you with terrorism or humanity?” Modi said during his hour-long speech.
The joint statement said the two countries denounced and opposed “terrorism in all forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, calling on all states to reject and abandon the use of terrorism against other countries, dismantle terrorism infrastructures where they exist, and bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice”.
It further said the two sides will “work together to control, regulate and share information on flow of funds that could have a bearing on radicalisation activities and cooperate in interdicting illegal flows and take action against concerned individuals and organisations”.
This will help India corner fugitives such as Dawood Ibrahim, who is believed to be holed up in Pakistan and owns properties in the UAE. In the past, several Indian fugitives and members of terror groups have sheltered in the emirates.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar announced the plans for the setting up of the fund to invest in Indian infrastructure projects and cooperate in producing military equipment, space technology and nuclear energy. The fund will aim to raise $75 billion to build railways, ports, roads and other projects in India, Jaishankar said. He did not give a timeframe or describe how the fund would be structured.
The joint statement said the UAE will help India develop strategic petroleum reserves in addition to its upstream and downstream petroleum sectors. It set a target of increasing bilateral trade by 60% in the next five years and pledged cooperation in developing and launching satellites and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The two sides will "cooperate in manufacture of defence equipment in India", the statement said.
India is eager for foreign capital and technology to develop its economy while the UAE, one of the richest of the Gulf Arab energy exporters, wants to use overseas investments to diversify its asset base beyond oil.
Modi’s comments came days ahead of talks between the National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan on terrorism-related issues in New Delhi on August 23. India is likely to present a dossier of evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in recent militant attacks during the meeting.
Mohammad Naveed, a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist arrested during a deadly attack at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, has told investigators he belongs to Faisalabad city in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Pakistan has rejected India’s charges regarding recent terror attacks and sought more information.