New Delhi: The recent visit to New Delhi by Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, “provided an opportunity for India and the UAE to constructively build on the vision of their comprehensive strategic partnership and to broaden cooperation in various sectors of mutual interest,” the Indian minister of state for external affairs has said.

Speaking on the floor of the Rajya Sabha, the upper House of India’s Parliament, V. Muraleedharan, who looks after India’s relations with the Gulf and the Arab world, said India’s bilateral relations with the UAE are “deep-rooted in age-old trade and cultural links and nourished by people to people contacts. In the last five years, with intensive high-level engagements, the relationship has been elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”

Muraleedharan added, “UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner and fourth-largest energy supplier. The UAE is the first foreign country to participate in India’s Strategic Petroleum Reserves.”

He recalled to Sanjay Singh, a Rajya Sabha member, in reply to Singh’s specific question on the floor of the House that Sheikh Abdullah paid an official visit from July 7 to 9, 2019, to New Delhi. During the visit, Sheikh Abdullah called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and held a bilateral meeting with external affairs minister Dr. S Jaishankar.

It is a normal custom in India for the government to brief Parliament on important visits by foreign leaders. Muraleedharan further said that India and the UAE have expressed interest in South-South cooperation, implying greater engagement among developing countries.