Dr S. Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, and Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the UAE President. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dr S. Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, lauded the historic ties between India and the UAE on Monday, attributing the strong bilateral relationship to “centuries of comfort”.

Delivering the keynote address at the second edition of India Global Forum UAE in Abu Dhabi, the minister attributed the ability of India and the UAE to collaborate with each other seamlessly to an intrinsic comfort between the two nations.

“It isn’t just that we have a tradition, but in that tradition, there is actually centuries of comfort,” he said. “And that comfort is not just intrinsic. It’s often intuitive. When I look at the history and the relationships which will go forward in the coming days, I certainly would rank the India-UAE relationship very high in that,” he added.

Pointing out that the UAE is today India’s third-largest trade partner and second-largest export market, Jaishankar said the fact that more Indian citizens live in UAE than in any other country abroad makes the ties even more special.

“Whether we are talking people or whether we’re talking business, this country has a particular salience in our perspectives,” he said. While the traditional areas of trade will continue, bilateral ties are now moving into new areas such as space, education, artificial intelligence, health and startups, the minister indicated. He also highlighted another aspect of the India-UAE relationship, which is the ability and effort to expand the ties to other partners with whom both nations have mutual comfort.

“Right now, to me, the obvious example of that is France. We have just this year taken our trilateral with France to a ministerial level. We certainly want to expand that. But we’re also – India and UAE – doing more things together in other geographies. Africa is an example. We together are exploring the possibility of health cooperation in Africa. And then, if I were to sort of go a little bit broader in the canvas, I would cite to you the establishment of the I2U2 mechanism between India, Israel, UAE and the US as yet another example of how our changed relationship is now beginning to have a broader ripple impact.”

He added that the relationship fits into transformations, which are independently underway in this region and often help to take the direction of those transformations forward.

In his welcome address, Professor Manoj Ladwa, Founder and Chairman of India Global Forum, said: “As India Global Forum UAE 2022 – Partners for Global Impact commences, we are guided by the vision of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, which is centred on a partnership destined for global impact.

Professor Manoj Ladwa, Founder and Chairman of India Global Forum Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“As we see the emergence of a new global alignment, where the spirit of ambition, and the confidence of trust, meets trade, technology, and talent to convert global challenges into global opportunities, IGF seeks to bring people, businesses, and governments closer. Today, this first global event post India’s ascendance to the presidency of G20, signifies the coming together of like-minded nations to build a better future.”

Focus on political and cultural diversity

Dr. Jaishankar was part of a conversation with Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Advisor to the UAE President, contextualising the role being played by India and the UAE as “Partners for Global Impact” – the theme of IGF UAE 2022, as well as the importance of inclusive and equitable development.

Dr Gargash said it is extremely important that we value political and cultural diversity for countries to continue the all-important communication with one another. “We do share a lot of values as human beings living in this globe. But at the same time, we also have various cultural traits and cultural diversity that make this world such an interesting place. So I think it is extremely important as we move forward, not to superimpose values that are perhaps suitable for certain societies,” he said.

“If you accept the concept of respecting diversity, then that acceptance of diversity really cascades down to everything that you look into,” Dr Gargash added.

Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister of Labour & Employment and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, spoke about why India’s climate leadership matters as the world transitions to green. He said India is already making great progress in the field of circular economy and is working towards establishing an economy based on a sustainable lifestyle. He also stressed the importance of the world making sure that all developing countries will get justice in the field of climate change.

The opening ceremony of IGF 2022 at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) was attended by Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to the UAE; Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADGM, and Professor Ladwa.