Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

We welcome Shri Narendra Modi, the honorable Prime Minister of India, who is set to embark on his third visit to the UAE in four years. This occasion is of great significance as the bilateral ties between the UAE and India have prospered over the decades and have transformed into a comprehensive strategic partnership, encouraging both countries to constantly expand strategic collaboration to cover new sectors and areas.

India is the UAE's second largest trade partner today and the UAE has become India's third largest trading partner, with the total non-oil trade between the two countries recorded at $35.9 billion in 2018. The strength of this bilateral trade relationship is evident in many sectors such as oil, infrastructure development, tourism and aviation. Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Modi’s latest visit to the UAE reaffirms the close relationship between the two countries, which is built on historical, deep-rooted and age-old cultural, religious and economic ties and based on mutual respect and common interests, as well as fruitful cooperation in various fields for the development and prosperity of the two countries. India’s partnership with the UAE is set to play a key role in its march towards its ambitious goal of becoming a $5 trillion economy.

Currently, there are 4365 Indian companies, 238 commercial agencies and 4862 trademarks registered in the UAE, and the inward Indian FDI stock into the UAE amounted to $6.2 billion at the end of 2017.The main sectors that attract Indian investments to the UAE include real estate, wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; manufacturing; professional, scientific and technical activities; transportation and storage; construction; administrative and support service activities; information and communication mining and quarrying and education. Owing to our progressive economies and world-class infrastructure, both India and the UAE are attracting significant attention in terms of investments.

Below are some most prominent and latest agreements and joint ventures:

1. The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) announced the signing of an agreement in March 2019, whereby a consortium of two Indian oil companies, the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and the Indian Oil Corporation Limited, acquired the rights to explore for oil and gas in Onshore Zone No. 1. Under the terms of the agreement, the Indian consortium will have a 100 per cent stake in the exploration phase and will invest about $170 million.

2. India's Reddy Sidi Group announced the establishment of a cement clinker plant in Fujairah in March 2019, with an investment value of about $177 million.

3. The UAE ranked first in the Arab world and the tenth in the world in terms of the balance of foreign direct investment to India during the period from April 2000 to June 2018. The balance of UAE direct investments during this period amounted to $5.84 billion.

India’s vibrant economy, progressive policies, growing job opportunities, technological competence, dynamic stock market, and its role as a key global economic player are most notable. Besides, structural reforms such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) and ease of doing business are further accelerating India’s growth. The UAE has great admiration for India and appreciate and respect the resident Indian community in the UAE for actively contributing to the UAE’s progress.

Easier visa norms and the availability of more than 1,000 flights a week between both countries have significantly boosted the number of tourists traveling between the two countries. This active air movement is indicative of the greater interaction between the two nations today and facilitates easy connectivity for both Indian tourists seeking to visit UAE’s many attractions, and Emiratis travelling to India for various purposes.

The Indian Prime Minister’s visit to the UAE would further bolster the bilateral ties between both countries. We are confident that the outcomes of this visit will further strengthen our nations’ bonds as partners and as friends.