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UPSC EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : A privileged strategic partnership, without a gulf

 

Source: The Hindu

 

  • Prelims: Current events of international importance, India-UAE relations, etc.
  • Mains GS Paper II: Significance of UAE for India, Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving India or affecting India’s interests.

 

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Prime Minister is scheduled to pay an official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
    • It includes inaugurating a temple built by the Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha in Abu Dhabi.
  • The Prime Minister will address the World Government Summit in Dubai as the ‘Guest of Honour’.

 

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

India and UAE:

  • India and the UAE established diplomatic relations in 1972.
  • India’s Prime Minister visit to the UAE: The greater push has been achieved in bilateral relations when the visit of India’s Prime Minister to the UAE in August 2015 marked the beginning of a new strategic partnership between the two countries.
  • Comprehensive strategic partnership: In 2017 bilateral relations were upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
  • This gave momentum to launching negotiations for an India-UAE comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

Salient features of CEPA:

 

India’s relationship with UAE:

  • It has evolved into one of the most prominent bilateral relationships for India.
  • UAE became India’s strategic partner and the most important linchpins of India’s engagement in the Gulf region.

The BAPS temple:

  • It was built on a 27-acre plot of land donated by the UAE President
  • It will be the second big Hindu temple to be inaugurated in the UAE
    • The first being the Hindu Temple in Dubai, opened in 2022.

India-UAE ties:

  • India and the UAE co-launched the Global Green Credit Initiative.
  • Economic partnership: Bilateral trade grew to $85 billion in 2022-23
    • making the UAE India’s third-largest trading partner and India’s second-largest export destination.
  • The UAE is the fourth-largest overall investor in India.
  • The India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement: It aims to increase trade in services to $115 billion in five years.
  • The Indian government approved the signing and ratification of a bilateral investment treaty with the UAE
    • It would boost bilateral economic engagement, especially manufacturing and foreign direct investment.
  • Fintech:The RuPay card, a key component of India’s Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI), has been accepted in the UAE since 2019
    • From July 2023, the rupee was being accepted for transactions at Dubai’s airports.
  • India and the UAE operationalised a rupee-dirham settlement system
    • The Indian Oil Corporation made a rupee payment to the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company for crude oil imports.

Security ties:

●      The UAE is the only nation from the region which has strategic oil reserves stored in India.

●      An agreement was signed by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company to invest in the strategic crude oil storage facility in Mangalore.

○      with an initial investment of $400 million.

●      Defense and security cooperation and people-to-people ties too are critical cogs in the relationship.

●      When the UAE hosted the OIC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 2019: It invited India’s External Affairs Minister as a keynote speaker/guest of honor country despite protests from some nations, including Pakistan.

●      In 2018, India was the ‘Guest of Honour’ country at the Abu Dhabi Festival (ADF), the UAE’s annual cultural festival.

●      In 2019, India’s PM Mr. Modi was conferred the UAE’s top civilian honor, the Order of Zayed.

●      Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces was the chief guest at the Republic Day parade in Delhi in January 2017.

●      The UAE was one of few nations specially invited for the G-20 summit, in September 2023, under India’s G-20 presidency.

●      The IIT Delhi Abu Dhabi campus has been established, and the UAE opened a consulate in Hyderabad in June 2023.

 

Way Forward

  • Within the region, both countries are in close coordination and a part of a number of important groupings such as the I2U2.
  • The UAE is part of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC) infrastructure project that was signed during the G-20 summit in Delhi.
    • The corridor aims to connect India to Europe across the Arabian peninsula
    • It is a potential rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • India has numerous strategic partnership agreements across the globe, but none displays more convergence and mutual respect at all levels than the one with the UAE.
  • While India recognises and values the UAE’s role in the region, the UAE too is cognisant of the ‘global leadership’ role that India is set to acquire.
  • Both countries recognise that this privileged strategic partnership is only set to grow stronger.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.”Discuss.(UPSC 2018) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)