Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan with Salman Khurshid in New Delhi on Thursday. Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: India and the UAE signed a crucial investment protection agreement in New Delhi on Thursday, which is expected to result in the UAE investing $2 billion (Dh7.34 billion) in Indian infrastructure projects.

The Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) was signed after a meeting between UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

While both nations are each others’ largest trading partners with trade totalling over $75 billion (Dh275.25 billion), the investments have not kept pace.

UAE investments in India have been hovering just over $3 billion (Dh11.01 billion) mark, according to an Indian news agency, IANS.

India is Dubai’s top trade partner in non-oil foreign trade with volume for the first nine months of this year reaching Dh111 billion.

The UAE business community welcomed the agreement. This agreement is good news for both Emirati and Indian business people, Khalfan Saeed Al Kaabi, first vice-chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Gulf News.

“Any formal agreement to protect the investments will boost the business relations and I am sure this will pave the way for more investments to both sides,” he said. With the signing of the agreement, a major hurdle in diplomatic relations between the two nations has been removed, an Indian official told Gulf News on Thursday. The UAE was concerned about its investments in India, especially after major companies such as etisalat were dragged into legal disputes when the Indian Supreme Court cancelled telecom licences related to alleged corruption in 2G spectrum allocation, he said.

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa) is looking at an investment of $700 million in Himachal Pradesh in the electricity sector. DP World Operations is aiming at expanding their footprint in the Indian port sector.