PM Modi’s UAE Visit- A Boost for Strategic Partnership 

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PM being welcomed by the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to Abu Dhabi, in United Arab Emirates (UAE) on February 13, 2024.
PM being welcomed by the President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during his visit to Abu Dhabi, in United Arab Emirates (UAE) on February 13, 2024.
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PM Narendra Modi’s UAE Visit: A Milestone in India-Gulf Relations

By Professor Jasim Mohammad

How PM Modi’s UAE Visit Enhanced India’s Economic, Security, and Cultural Ties with the Gulf Region

PM Modi’s UAE Vist- A Boost for Strategic Partnership 

India and UAE: A Strategic and Dynamic Partnership in the Changing World Order 

India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have a long-standing and multifaceted relationship, spanning across political, economic, cultural, and security domains. The two countries share common interests and values in promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the region and the world. During the reign of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the bilateral ties have reached new heights, with the establishment of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in 2017, and the frequent high-level exchanges and visits between the two sides. The latest visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE from February 13 & 14, 2024, was a significant diplomatic outreach to the Gulf region, which is vital for India’s energy, trade, and security interests. 

The visit, which coincided with the inauguration of the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, also showcased the cultural and people-to-people ties between India and the UAE, which hosts more than 3.3 million Indians.

The highlight of the visit was the extensive talks between PM Modi and the UAE’s President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The two leaders reviewed the progress of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was established in 2017, and discussed new areas of cooperation and collaboration. 

One of the main objectives of PM Modi’s visit to the UAE was to boost the economic and trade partnership between the two countries, which is already one of the strongest and most dynamic in the region. During the visit, the two sides signed several agreements, covering diverse sectors such as electrical interconnection and trade, digital infrastructure, fintech, energy, basic infrastructure, culture, and national archives. These agreements reflect the mutual interest and commitment of both countries to enhance their cooperation and collaboration in various fields and to create new opportunities and synergies for their development and growth. The agreements also complement the existing trade and investment ties, which have reached impressive levels in recent years. The UAE is one of India’s key trade and investment partners, with a bilateral trade of about USD 85 billion in 2022-23, making it India’s third-largest trading partner and second-largest export destination. The UAE is also the first country to participate in India’s strategic petroleum reserves and has committed to invest USD 75 billion in India’s infrastructure sector through its sovereign wealth fund, which is the largest foreign direct investment in India. The economic and trade partnership between India and the UAE is thus a vital pillar of the bilateral ties and the CSP, and PM Modi’s visit has further strengthened and expanded it.

Another aspect of the bilateral ties and the CSP that PM Modi’s visit to the UAE has enhanced is the defence and security cooperation between the two countries. India and the UAE have strengthened their defence cooperation since 2003, marked by joint exercises like Desert Eagle and Gulf Star-11. The Annual Defence Dialogue and high-level visits have played pivotal roles in exchanging views and experiences on defence and security matters. The two countries have also increased their defence training and capacity building, with the UAE participating in India’s defence institutions and courses. Moreover, the two countries have enhanced their intelligence sharing and counter-terrorism collaboration, including successful operations against terrorists. The UAE has also supported India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council and has backed India’s stance on cross-border terrorism and regional issues. The defence and security cooperation between India and the UAE is thus a significant component of the bilateral ties and the CSP, and PM Modi’s visit to the UAE has further consolidated and expanded it.

Another aspect of the bilateral ties and the CSP that PM Modi’s visit to the UAE has demonstrated is the convergence of interests and values between India and the UAE, especially in the context of the changing regional and global scenario. The two countries share a common vision of peace, stability, and prosperity in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean region, and have a stake in countering the threats of extremism, radicalization, and violence. They also aspire to play a leading role in shaping the future of the world, by leveraging their strengths in innovation, technology, and human capital. Some of the examples of this convergence are:

The UAE’s participation in the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), is a transnational rail and shipping route that aims to enhance connectivity and integration between Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. The IMEC is seen as a potential counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Eurasian region, and a strategic and economic game changer for India and others.

 The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry of Investment of the UAE and the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology of India for expanding bilateral investment cooperation in the digital infrastructure sector, with a special emphasis on data center projects in India56. This MoU reflects the mutual interest and commitment of both countries to enhance their cooperation and collaboration in the field of digital infrastructure, which is a key enabler for economic development and innovation.

 The interlinking of digital payment platforms like the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and credit and debit cards between India and the UAE, will facilitate seamless and secure transactions for the people and businesses of both countries7. This initiative will also boost the trade and tourism sectors, and promote financial inclusion and digital empowerment.

However, Modi’s visit to the UAE has strengthened the bilateral ties and the CSP between the two countries, by enhancing cooperation and collaboration in various sectors, and by demonstrating the convergence of interests and values in the changing regional and global scenario. The visit has reaffirmed the strong and strategic partnership between India and the UAE, which is based on mutual trust, respect, and friendship. The visit has also set the stage for further enhancing the bilateral ties and taking them to greater heights in the coming years.

Prof. Jasim Mohammad
Prof. Jasim Mohammad

Author is Professor in Comparative Literature and the Chairman Centre for Narendra Modi Studies (CNMS) New Delhi. Email : [email protected])

About Post Author

Editor Desk

Antara Tripathy M.Sc., B.Ed. by qualification and bring 15 years of media reporting experience.. Coverred many illustarted events like, G20, ICC,MCCI,British High Commission, Bangladesh etc. She took over from the founder Editor of IBG NEWS Suman Munshi (15/Mar/2012- 09/Aug/2018 and October 2020 to 13 June 2023).
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