The United Arab Emirates Wednesday pushed for "an increased involvement" of India in issues affecting the Gulf countries to promote peace and stability in the region as the two countries held a meeting of their joint commission in New Delhi.
"At a regional level, we also look forward to an increased involvement by India in issues affecting the Gulf and neighbouring countries," UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan said at the opening of the ministerial session of the two-day India-UAE Joint Commission.
"It is in both of our interests to work together more and more closely," he said as he underlined the close linkage between security and stability in the Indian subcontinent and the strategic Gulf region.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is leading the Indian delegation at the eighth joint Commission meeting that is being held after a gap of 13 years.
The two sides have "much to discuss during our meetings, over a wide range of political, economic, cultural and other topics... And that is only right and proper, for relations between the UAE and India are not only widely diversified, but are deep-rooted and solidly-based," Shaikh Abdullah said in a statement.
Shaikh Abdullah also lauded the contribution of nearly 1.4 million Indians working in the UAE. "There have been commercial and cultural links between us for thousands of years, going back to the dawn of our recorded histories," he said.
"And these have developed and deepened over the last 30 or 40 years as the UAE has embarked on its process of rapid growth, a process in which I am pleased to note that India - and expatriate Indians - have played a significant part," he stressed.
The UAE minister hoped that "this joint commission meeting will lay down some clear guidelines for the future development of our already-excellent ties, permitting both of our governments to work together in pursuit of the interests of our people.
India's multi-faceted ties with the UAE are steadily growing. UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum's visit to India in March marked growing economic and strategic engagement with the Gulf country that has emerged as a vibrant business hub in the region.
India and the UAE signed a strategic pact on July 1, 2003 when a high-level delegation led by the then Chief of Staff and now the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan visited India.
The agreement envisages cooperation in security, defence policy, development of defence cooperation, training for UAE military and military medical personnel, exchange of cultural and sports activities between the friendly forces of the two countries and joint efforts to tackle environmental issues, particularly pollution in the seas.