UAE Economy Minister Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi said here Monday that ties between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India were growing "dramatically" and that they were set to "grow further".
Praising India for its rapid growth, she said that there was a time that the two countries traded spices. Today, this has been "replaced by oil, infrastructure materials and hi-tech products".
She noted that India had posted 8.9 percent growth in the first quarter of 2006.
The UAE minister was speaking at the opening of the 6th Indo-Arab Conference and the Exhibition of Indian Products held at Sharjah Expo Centre.
She pointed out that the Arab countries, mostly those in the Gulf, hosted some six million Indians, and that they remitted about US $ 20 billion annually. There was a scope and need for increased cooperation.
According to her speech, as released by WAM news agency, Shaikha Lubna said that population was growing in both countries - in relative terms - and both of them needed to create new jobs. That was a key challenge.
India is one of the world's leading economies now, she observed.
The UAE is the size of roughly Indian Punjab with a population of less than five million, including those of expatriate workers. But its per capita income is among the highest in the world.
In the last 40 years, it has grown from a poor desert state to a beautifully landscaped country with world-class infrastructure from roads, aviation and other communication links, thanks to the careful and wise use of its oil resources.
There are nearly a million Indians in the UAE.