Message from Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE
“This partnership, spanning several millennia, is a journey and not a destination. Important milestones in this journey, post 1947, are the discovery of oil in commercial quantities in the Emirates in the mid sixties and the visionary leadership of the UAE who founded the federation in 1971. Both countries established formal diplomatic relations immediately after that, with the first Indian ambassador arriving in 1973, followed by the historic visit to India by President Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan in 1975. We witnessed a significant intensification and diversification of trade links between us and with this came greater understanding of our developmental constraints and the sharing of expertise.
“The most important event that reset the compass towards formalisation of the natural relationship between our two countries was the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in August 2015. This was the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister to the UAE after 34 years and it marked the beginning of a new and comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. An extensive framework of agreements ranging from defence, security and law enforcement to economic, cultural, consular and people-to-people relationships were signed. There is greater conviction about the role of this partnership for a peaceful, stable, sustainable and prosperous Asia and the world. This strategic partnership was further cemented during the state visit of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to India, in January 2017 as the Chief Guest at our Republic Day celebrations.”
Message from Vipul, Consul General of India in Dubai
“As two neighbours connected by the Arabian Sea, India and the UAE have always enjoyed strong fraternal ties. As India’s Consul General in Dubai and the northern region, I am very happy to see the current vigour and dynamism in our relationship, which is now defined as comprehensive strategic partnership. The visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in 2015 and of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, to India in 2017 as chief guest for the Republic Day celebrations have transformed the relationship in all sectors and at all levels. I see remarkable warmth among the Emiratis for India and for Indians.”
Message from Bindu Suresh Chettur, President, Indian Business & Professional Council, Dubai
“The 2.6-million Indian populace in the UAE contributes immensely to both the economies. What might have started as barter trade decades back stands at $52-billion-(Dh191 billion)-worth of total trade between the two nations in 2016-17. India and the UAE are prominent partners, especially in trade, defence, energy and foreign direct investments. With growing relations, trade ties of $100 billion by 2020 does not seem to be a distant dream.”
Here we look at the defining moments in the bilateral ties between India and the UAE.
Diplomatic relations between India and the UAE began shortly after the federation of the latter in 1971. New Delhi welcomed a UAE embassy in 1972, while the Indian embassy opened in Abu Dhabi the following year. The father of the nation, late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, strengthened ties by visiting India in 1975, where he met Indian President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad.
Shaikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince of Dubai, welcomed Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on a three-day visit to the UAE at the Abu Dhabi airport in 1981.
Ties between India and the UAE have been continually strengthened by high-level visits from both sides. Indian President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam met with students at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Abu Dhabi during his 2003 visit.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, visited India in March, where he discussed several issues of mutual interest with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Pratibha Patil, President of India, made an official visit to the UAE in 2010. She is pictured here with the UAE’s Foreign Trade Minister, Shaikha Lubna
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his delegation this year. Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid presented a copy of his book, Flashes of Thought, to Modi in Dubai.
A historic visit to India in 2016 by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, took the relationship to a new level. On his second state visit to the country this year, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed was the chief guest at India’s 68th Republic Day celebrations.
A strong trading relationship underpins the ties between the two nations. Imports from the subcontinental nation totalled $31 billion during 2016-17. This includes import of gems and jewellery to the UAE from factories in Surat (pictured) and other parts of India. The UAE exported $21-billion-worth of goods during the same period, according to the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.