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AIR spotlight summary on “India–UAE Bilateral Relations”



AIR spotlight summary on “India–UAE Bilateral Relations”


The crown prince of United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan was the chief guest for the Republic day celebration. India has been reaching out to the countries of Middle East and UAE promises to be one alliance that is going to reap benefits for India. This is a very important move in the Indian government’s initiative to have closer relations with West Asia.

India-UAE Bilateral Relations

  • The visit of Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan follows the visit undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2015. UAE is a very important area and strategically very significant. The rapid exchange of visits, conversations and dialogue between the top leaders of India and UAE is a welcome development.
  • Among various MOUs signed the important one is the Bilateral relationship is now upgraded to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and even signed defence MOUs. Maritime cooperation was mentioned as one of the potential areas of cooperation. India is looking forward for defence ties with many countries and UAE is one among them.

Bilateral Defence Ties

  • UAE has been identified by India as a key partner in the very volatile region and an important region because of India’s energy imports and large segment of India’s Diaspora lives there. So India is trying to expand and enhance its partnership and defence ties.
  • Security has not been a significant aspect of our relationship so far with countries in West Asia. The countries in Middle East have also started feeling anxious because of the rise and expansion of Islamic State. Therefore India is developing security and defence ties with UAE.
  • Both countries held bilateral exercises between Indian Air Force (IAF) and United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAE AF) called Desert Eagle II.
  • During the Republic day parade an armed forces contingent of around 200 soldiers from the UAE took part in the parade. This is a new trend which started last year when the French President was here. This is display of India’s generosity of welcoming our chief guest and is part of India’s soft power. They act as a bonding between the services of the two countries and send a positive message to people. They are an important element in strengthening and expanding our partnership with these countries.

Pakistan and the Middle East countries

  • Traditionally UAE was regarded as an ally of Pakistan, now UAE is making public statements and gestures which indicate that it might leave that traditional spot and develop closer ties with India. It is clear to everyone that Pakistan has emerged and evolved as the epicentre of terrorism. There is funding and training for terrorist groups in Pakistan. Internationally wherever any terror attack takes place there is always the role of Pakistan. For UAE terrorism is a challenge that they need to confront with and for that they find India to be an effective partner.
  • When it comes to Kashmir issue we find that India usually does not get the support it would be looking at from Middle East nations because of the Islamic bondage they have with Pakistan. It is difficult to change the view points at the multilateral level in the organisations like Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). On a bilateral level we can expect a greater support for the Indian position on Kashmir issue.

Economic Ties

  • India is a large country, large economy and a large market. With the international economy going down over the last few years all these countries are looking for big markets and also big destination for their energy exports and India is an excellent candidate in this regard.
  • During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s successful visit to UAE in 2015, UAE promised to invest $75 billion into infrastructure development in India. The pace seems to be little slow, but we may see the realistic results on the ground very soon. There is huge sovereign wealth fund in UAE of more than $800 billion. India needs $1.5 trillion of investment over the next 5 years to improve our infrastructure.                       

Indian Diaspora in UAE

  • According to the latest figures the remittances which the Indian Diaspora in UAE send back to India is around $13.6 billion which helps India to tackle its Current Account Deficit. Indian Diaspora is the important representatives of India and they act as a strong and binding factor between the two countries. There are about 2.6 million Indian Diaspora in UAE which accounts for 12% of the total Diaspora. They are making huge contribution towards economic prosperity, stability and success of UAE.