UAE is a major investment hub for Indian businesses Nithin Belle

India enjoys close and multifaceted bilateral ties with the UAE, with regular high-level visits and extensive people-to-people contacts

India, which continues to be among the fastest-growing large economies in the world, offers tremendous opportunities for investors from the UAE and the Gulf region.

Similarly, the UAE too is seen as a major investment hub for Indian businesses, many of who have been investing funds into the country in recent months. Bilateral investments between the two countries are expected to surge over the coming months, with respective governments promoting such investments.

India-UAE business and trade ties got a major boost following the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces as the Chief Guest for the January 26, 2017 Republic Day celebrations in Delhi.

Several agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed between the two countries during the high-profile visit, when the Crown Prince interacted closely with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They included:

– Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the India and the UAE

– Oil Storage and Management between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

– Technical development and cooperation in cyber space between National Security Council Secretariat and National Electronic Security Authority of UAE

– Cooperation in the field of Defence Industry

– Institutional Cooperation on Maritime Transport

– Bilateral Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways Sector

– Cooperation in the field of Small and Medium Enterprises and Innovation

– Trade remedial measures to promote cooperation in areas of mutual interest

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar also made an official visit to the UAE in October for the second round of India-UAE strategic dialogue. The first round was held in New Delhi in January 2017.

India enjoys close and multifaceted bilateral ties with the UAE, with regular high-level visits and extensive people-to-people contacts. Prime Minister Modi visited the UAE in August 2015 and last year’s visit by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed elevated the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Bilateral trade between the two countries adds up to $53 billion; the UAE is India’s third largest trading partner; India is the largest trading partner for the UAE.

The UAE is among the top investors in India in terms of foreign direct investments. It contributes significantly to India’s energy security and was the fifth-largest supplier of crude oil to India in 2016-17.

And the 2.6 million-strong and vibrant Indian community forms the largest expatriate group in the UAE.

Ties between the countries are expected to strengthen significantly even in 2018. Earlier this month, Dr. Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna, the UAE Ambassador to India, met the Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu, in New Delhi.

The UAE diplomat extended an official invitation to the minister to participate in the eighth edition of the Annual Investment Meeting due to be held from April 9 to 11, 2018, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Interestingly, the theme of the meet this year is ‘Linking Developed and Emerging Markets through FDI: Partnerships for Inclusive Growth & Sustainable Development.’

The UAE Ambassador briefed the Indian minister on the success of the 7th Annual Investment Forum, which attracted more than 19,000 public and private sector participants from 141 countries and over 100 eminent personalities.

The Ambassador recently also met officials of the Punjab and Haryana (PHD) Chamber of Commerce; the chamber decided to create a “ginger group” of influential Indians from all walks of life to act as catalysts in deepening economic relations between India and the UAE.

According to the UAE diplomat, the four major sectors of foreign direct investment (FDI) from India to the UAE include transportation and vehicles, food processing, information technology and energy.

And of course, the real estate segment in the UAE, especially Dubai, continues to attract a lot of investments from Indians. Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director-General, Dubai Land Department (DLD), said recently that Indian investors occupy a leading position among the top-three nationalities investing in Dubai every year.

“India has a huge number of investors looking for exceptional international investment opportunities, and Dubai is certainly able to answer this demand with its diverse investment options and attractive real estate environment,” he declared.

And India too is emerging as a major destination for investments from the UAE. The country is the 10th largest investor into India in terms of FDI. UAE-based companies – who have invested about $8 billion into Indian projects (with $3 billion coming in the form of FDI) continue to show keen interest in investing into India.

Leading UAE-based companies that are pursuing projects in India include DP World, Abu Dhabi National Petroleum Company, Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, Emaar, Drake and Scull International.

The two countries are also working on a $75 billion fund for investments in infrastructure projects including roads, railways, ports, defence equipment, nuclear energy and space.


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