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PM Modi, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince set to elevate ties – expected to sign key India-UAE comprehensive economic partnership agreement on Friday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on his arrival, in Abu Dhabi, in February 2018 (File image courtesy: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan will hold a virtual summit this Friday to strengthen bilateral cooperation and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Both leaders are expected to lay out their vision of the historic and friendly relations between the two countries, at a time when India is celebrating 75 years of its Independence as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav and UAE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its foundation.

More importantly, a major initiative in bilateral relations – the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) – is expected to be signed between the two countries. Negotiations for CEPA were launched in September 2021 and have been completed. The Agreement will take India-UAE economic and commercial engagement to the next level. UAE is India’s third largest trade partner, and bilateral trade and investment ties are expected to see significant enhancements.

The bilateral relations between India and the UAE have strengthened in all areas in recent years and both sides have embarked upon a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Prime Minister Modi visited UAE in 2015, 2018 and 2019 while the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi visited India in 2016 and 2017. Ministerial visits between the two sides have also continued, including three visits of External Affairs Minister and a visit of Commerce and Industry Minister to UAE in 2021.

Both sides have collaborated closely during the Covid-19 pandemic in critical areas of healthcare and food security. Bilateral trade, investment and energy relations have remained robust. The two sides are also strengthening their cooperation in new areas of renewable energy, start-ups, fintech, etc. India is participating with one of the largest pavilions in the Dubai Expo 2020.

UAE also hosts a large India community which numbers close to 3.5 million. PM Modi has expressed India’s appreciation to the leadership of UAE for supporting the Indian community during the pandemic. UAE leadership has also been appreciative of the contribution of the Indian community in its development. Both sides had agreed on an Air Bubble Arrangement in 2020 during the pandemic which has enabled the movement of people between two countries despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

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