India seeks investments from UAE in infrastructure, defence
India on Monday sought investments from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in key sectors such as infrastructure, highways, ports, airports, renewable energy and defence as the two sides discussed a joint strategy to offset the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The matters came up during a virtual meeting of the India-UAE joint commission on trade, economic and technical cooperation, which was co-chaired by external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“The Indian side invited further investments from [the] UAE in key sectors of the Indian economy such as infrastructure including logistics, food parks, highways, ports, airports, renewable energy and defence,” said a statement from the external affairs ministry.
The two sides assessed their cooperation over the past few months in the fight against Covid-19 and “discussed a joint strategy to offset the economic and social impact of the pandemic on both countries”, the statement added.
“The UAE side conveyed appreciation for the significant contributions made by the Indian expatriate community and expressed its willingness to further strengthen links in energy and food security,” it said.
Bilateral trade during 2019-20 was worth almost $60 billion, making the UAE India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US. The UAE is the second largest export destination for India, after the US, with exports worth more than $30 billion during 2018-19. India was the UAE’s second largest trading partner in 2018.
Besides close security and defence ties between the two sides, the UAE is also home to more than three million Indians.
The joint commission’s meeting was preceded by a virtual senior officials meeting on 13 August between Sanjay Bhattacharyya, secretary (consular, passport and visa and overseas Indian affairs), in the external affairs ministry, and Abdul Nasser Al Shaali, the UAE’s assistant minister of economic and trade affairs.
Virtual meetings of five sub-committees on high-level exchanges, economic, trade and investment cooperation, consular and community affairs cooperation, defence and security cooperation, and education, culture and youth cooperation were held during August 10-11.
“Wide-ranging discussions were held in a friendly, frank and constructive atmosphere, reflecting the strong bilateral ties between the two strategic partners,” the statement said. Both sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in ongoing areas and to explore cooperation in newer areas reflecting the changing times.
Both sides also discussed regional issues related to their neighbourhood and cooperation at the UN and other multilateral forums. They also agreed to hold the next session of the joint commission in Abu Dhabi in 2021.