Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrives on state visit

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, February 11, 2016

Modi receives Abu Dhabi Crown Prince on arrival on India visit
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Armed Forces, arrived here last night on his first state visit to India.
Breaking protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received Sheikh Mohamed on his arrival at the airport here.
Sheikh Mohamed is accompanied on the visit by a high-level delegation, including Ministers, senior officials and captains of industry.
Soon after his arrival, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him.
Sheikh Mohamed will hold bilateral talks with Mr. Modi here today on issues of mutual interest.
He will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee, who will host a private lunch for him, and Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari.
He will also visit Mumbai, where he will meet Indian business leaders in the financial sector at the Bombay Stock Exchange.
The visit follows Mr. Modi's visit to the UAE in August last year,  during which the two countries agreed to elevate the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
"This visit marks the excellent rapport which has been struck between the leadership of our countries because it comes only a few months after the visit of our Prime Minister to UAE which happened in August 2015. And that, of course, was a visit by a Prime Minister from India after a gap of 34 years," Mr. Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs told journalists here yesterday.
"After the visit of the Emir of Qatar to India in March 2015, again this would be the next highest level visit from the Gulf region which is extremely important for India as it is home to 7 million Indians, the source of nearly 60 percent of our energy needs, one of our largest export destinations and a major source of remittances. And this region also has a very strong bearing on India’s security and stability in our neighbourhood," he said.
Mr. Wadhwa said India's predominant interests in the UAE were to expand their trade and economic partnership, to secure inward and long-term energy supplies and the continued welfare of the large Indian community which resides there. 
India and the UAE are among each other’s largest trading partners. The UAE is the sixth largest source of imports of crude oil for India. It hosts a 2.6 million-strong Indian expatriate community and the two countries have a robust bilateral investment relationship as well, he said.
"It would be fair to say that India remains a priority country for the UAE as well, being one of its largest trading partners, a major recipient of UAE crude oil exports, a potential destination of their investments and, of course, the great support that the Indian community is providing in UAE and the development of the country," he said.
Mr. Wadhwa said the visit would provide an opportunity for both sides to have detailed discussions to consolidate the domains of the existing partnership and also to constructively build on the vision of the comprehensive strategic partnership.
"Some new agreed areas of cooperation are, if I may name a few, the production of defence equipment in India, strategic partnership in security, in counter-terrorism, cooperation in nuclear and the space sector, in energy sector, including renewable energy," he said.
"We have signed several agreements and MoUs for cooperation in different areas of mutual interest between India and the UAE. But a number of new MoUs and agreements are proposed to be signed during the visit of the Crown Prince to expand the areas of our cooperation," he said.
The two countries have been regularly exchanging high-level visits. Three Indian Presidents and two Prime Ministers have visited the UAE, while a former President of the UAE has visited India on two occasions. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai visited India in 2007 and 2010. 
There have been several visits by Ministers of the two countries, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visiting the UAE in November 2014 and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visiting India in September 2015. The Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) also visited India earlier during this month.
The UAE is India’s third largest trading partner after the United States and China. Bilateral trade is nearly $60 billion and the country is India's second largest export destination. This was worth $33 billion in 2014-15. During Mr. Modi's visit to the UAE in August last year, the two sides decided to raise bilateral trade by 60 percent in the next five years.
UAE is also among the top 10 investors in India since 2000, with a cumulative Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of $3.3 billion. It is also estimated that the UAE has invested about $5 billion in portfolio investments into India. The UAE controls the second largest Sovereign Wealth Fund in the world which is around $800 billion  under the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and this is an important source of investment for the Indian infrastructuring sector. 
The UAE has been invited to participate in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) in India. 
During November 2011, India and the UAE also signed an agreement on security cooperation. A joint security committee was then set up under the agreement and this meets regularly. 
"We have agreed to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism operations, intelligence sharing and capacity building. We also have an agreement on defence cooperation and established a joint committee on security under this MoU. This was signed in 2003. This cooperation extends to training for the UAE armed forces in India, visits of experts and officers, port calls by naval ships etc.," Mr. Wadhwa said.
Through the joint statement that was issued during the Prime Minister’s visit to the UAE, the two countries had agreed to make bilateral investments in the petroleum sector and also to take up joint projects in a third country. 
The annual remittances to India by non-resident Indians (NRIs) in the UAE are over $15 billion. There are close to 900 direct flights operating every week between various destinations in India and the UAE.