Navdeep Singh Suri Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Senior Indian diplomat Navdeep Singh Suri will be the new Indian Ambassador to UAE, a senior official told Gulf News on Minday.

The ambassador designate is eager to take up his new role at a time when India and UAE relations are witnessing an unprecedented upswing. “I look forward to the new assignment at such an important time in our bilateral relations,” Navdeep Singh Suri, who is currently serving as the Indian High Commissioner to Australia, tweeted on Monday.

A senior diplomat, generally in the rank of an ambassador, is called a high commissioner in member countries of the Commonwealth of Nations, a voluntary association of 52 independent and sovereign states, mostly former British colonies.

Suri will take charge in Abu Dhabi in a few weeks, said Neeta Bhushan, Charge d’Affairs at the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Suri is replacing T.P. Seetharam, who retired from service in August.

A 1983 batch Foreign Service officer, Suri has served in India’s diplomatic missions in Cairo, Damascus, Washington, Dar es Salaam and London and as India’s Consul General in Johannesburg.

He has also headed the West Africa and Public Diplomacy divisions at the Ministry of External Affairs. He was India’s Ambassador to Egypt before moving to Australia. For his innovative use of social media in public diplomacy, Suri has received wide recognition, including two prestigious awards.

An Arabic and French speaker, he has a masters degree in economics and has written on India’s Africa policy, on public diplomacy and on the IT outsourcing industry. His English translations of his grandfather Nanak Singh’s classic Punjabi novels have been published by Penguin as The Watchmaker and by Harper Collins as A Life Incomplete.

Suri is taking up India’s top diplomat’s post here when the two nations have elevated their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first state visit to the UAE in August 2015 and a reciprocal state visit to India by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, in February this year. A large number of agreements signed during the two visits have given an unprecedented boost to the relations in economic, security and counter-terrorism, IT and many crucial sectors.

On October 2, New Delhi said Shaikh Mohammad will be the chief guest at the Indian Republic Day on January 26, 2017.

The latest developments this week include the inauguration of the UAE Consulate General at Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of the southern Indian state of Kerala, on Wednesday. The second edition of the two-day UAE-India Economic Forum (UIEF) will begin on Wednesday in Dubai to explore investment opportunities in India. The two countries set up the UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund with a target of $75 billion (Dh275 billion) during Modi’s visit.

Indian Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari and Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar will attend the forum. They are expected to meet their UAE counterparts in Abu Dhabi during the two-day official visit.

UAE’s investments in India increased to nearly $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) over the past year. The UAE is the seventh largest investor in India with $4.03 billion total foreign direct investment inflows from the UAE to India from April 2000 to March 2016. India was the largest trading partner for the UAE for the year 2015 whereas the UAE was India’s third largest trading partner after China and the US. Total bilateral trade during 2015-16 was around $50 billion.