Shaikh Abdullah, UAE Foreign Minister, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hold talks in New Delhi yesterday. The two discussed a number of issues of common interest and ways to enhance trade and economic ties. Image Credit: WAM

New Delhi: Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Foreign Minister, yesterday met senior Indian leaders and discussed a number of issues of common interest.

He called on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon in New Delhi on Monday, during a 24-hour visit to India.

During the meetings, Shaikh Abdullah discussed a number of issues of common interest, especially the ways and means to enhance trade and economic exchanges.

India and the UAE were expected to sign agreements aimed at enhancing trade, investment, economic and energy ties late last night.

Hunt for opportunities

Accompanied by top corporate leaders and senior officials from the UAE Foreign Ministry, Shaikh Abdullah was on a mission to look for opportunities particularly in the areas of shipping, aviation, telecommunications and energy.

He held wide-ranging talks with Singh and Ansari on the intensification of trade and investment levels, global finance and energy security.

According to highly placed sources in the Ministry of External Affairs, "the two sides discussed cooperation in technology transfer, research and development in areas related to space, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and bio-technology."

"Also the two sides are exploring possibilities of setting up industrial complexes in the Gulf, as well as in India and third countries to cater to markets worldwide," they added.

The UAE Foreign Minister was also scheduled to hold meetings with his Indian counterpart S.M. Krishna later last night.

Bilateral relations

It was expected that the two leaders would discuss key bilateral relations, apart from signing several agreements. India and UAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of manpower sourcing in December 2006 and are likely to renew it now.

After Shaikh Abdullah's visit, the UAE's Ministry of Labour and India's Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs are likely to work more closely in order to evolve a new arrangement to make the system of recruitment and contracting more transparent.

India enjoys close and multi-faceted relations with the UAE, which is one of its largest trade partners.

Both countries share historic cultural ties and are making sincere efforts to cultivate regular cultural exchanges both at official and popular levels.

During 2009-2010, trade between India and the UAE touched $43 billion (Dh157.9 billion).

Expatriate community

Indians also comprise the largest single expatriate community in the UAE.

According to the Foreign Ministry statement issued on Monday: "India and the UAE enjoy strong bonds of friendship which are founded on millennia-old cultural, religious and economic exchange between the two regions."


The UAE is eager to keep all channels of communication and cooperation open with India, especially in the cultural, humanitarian and economic field.

A limited edition book by former Consul-General in Dubai Venu Rajamony explores the strong ties between India and the UAE.

"It is through these [cultural, humanitarian and economic] fields that we build good political relations with other countries — based on mutual interests, respect and constructive cooperation," Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, says in the book.

With input from IANS