India-UAE Bilateral Relations
1. India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) established diplomatic relations in 1972. While the UAE opened its Embassy in India in 1972, Indian Embassy in UAE was opened in 1973.
2. The traditionally strong bilateral relations enjoyed by India-UAE have received impetus with exchange of high-level bilateral visits from time to time. The visit of Prime Minister of India to UAE on 16-17 August 2015 marked the beginning of a new Comprehensive and Strategic partnership between the two countries. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces, visited India from February 10-12, 2016.
3. Crown Prince visited India for the second time from 24-26 January, 2017 as the Chief Guest at India’s Republic day celebrations. It was during this visit that the bilateral relations were upgraded to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’. During the visit, two sides also signed MoUs on strengthening cooperation in cyber space, defense, maritime/road transport, SME, agriculture, manpower, human trafficking, entry visa exemption for diplomatic, special and official passport holders, media, energy, etc.
4. The second State visit of the Prime Minister to UAE from 10-11 February, 2018 further energized the bilateral relations. During his visit, PM Modi also delivered the key note address on the theme - "Technology for Development”- at the sixth World Government Summit in Dubai, where India was invited as the Guest of Honor, in addition to holding bilateral meetings with Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE. On the side-lines of the World Government Summit, Prime Minister Modi also met with a select group of senior CEOs and Business Leaders from GCC. He also addressed Indian community at Dubai Opera House, and unveiled a model of the first Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi. The signing of the following MoUs / Agreements was the highlight of the visit:
- Agreement between Indian Consortium (OVL, BPRL & IOCL) and ADNOC for acquisition of 10% participating interest in the offshore Lower Zakhum Concession;
- MoU between Government of India and Government of UAE for cooperation in the field of Manpower;
- MoU between Ministry of Railways, India and Federal Transport Authority - Land & Maritime of UAE for Technical Cooperation in Rail Sector;
- MoU between Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX); and
- MoU between Government of Jammu and Kashmir and DP World FZE for development of Multi modal logistics hub in J&K.
5. The momentum generated by PM’s visits was sustained by back to back reciprocal visits at the level of Foreign Ministers. During the period 2014- 2019, External Affairs Minister of India visited the UAE thrice. Her first visit took place in November 2014. She subsequently visited Abu Dhabi in December 2018 to participate at the 12th Joint Commission Meeting (JCM). Her third visit took place in March 2019 when she attended the 'Organization of Islamic Nations’ (OIC) meeting where India was invited as ‘Guest of Honor’ country by the UAE despite an objection from OIC member, Pakistan.EAM SushmaSwaraj addressed the inaugural session of the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 1st March 2019, in Abu Dhabi. The UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah also visited India twice in June 2018 and as recently as from 7th - 9th July, 2019 and met EAM and called on PM.
6 Prime Minister Modi paid his third and the most recent visit to the UAE from August 23-24,2019. During the visit, PM Modi was conferred with the UAE's highest award, the 'Order of Zayed’. The President of the UAE had announced the award of 'Order of Zayed' medal to PM Modi in recognition of his efforts in promoting bilateral ties. Other highlights of the PM's visit were the official launch of ‘RuPay Card’ in UAE, and release of the stamps commemorating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. UAE is the first country in the Gulf region where Indian RuPay card has been officially launched.
7. The other recent developments have been the India’s participation at the 29th edition of the ‘Abu Dhabi Book Fair 2019’ as the ‘Guest of Honour Nation’ and the foundation stone laying ceremony for the first traditional Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi, held in April 2019. The foundation stone laying ceremony was attended by many dignitaries including the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, DrThani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi and the Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, Dr Ahmad bin Abdullah HumaidBelhoul Al Falasi.
8. Parliamentary Cooperation: An Indian Parliamentary delegation led by Honorable Member of Parliament Shri BhartruhariMehtab for the Asian Parliamentary Assembly Standing Committee Meeting in Abu Dhabi in May 2017 met Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of Federal National Council (FNC). During the meeting, Indian delegation invited the Speaker of FNC to visit India.
9. Institutional Mechanism: India and UAE have following institutional mechanisms in place for addressing sector-specific issues.
- Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) – JCM deals with issues related to trade and commerce. EAM Ms. SushmaSwaraj visited UAE in 3-5 December 2018 for the 12th session of the India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting for Technical and Economic Cooperation held in Abu Dhabi. During the meeting, co-chaired by UAE Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed, both sides discussed issues related to bilateral cooperation.
- Foreign Office Consultations - A Memorandum of Understanding on holding annual Political Consultations was signed during the visit of the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed AI Nahyan to New Delhi in June 2011. Annual Foreign Office Consultations are held at the Secretary-level. Second India-UAE Foreign Office Consultations took place on February 8-9, 2012 in New Delhi. The UAE delegation was led by the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Tariq Ahmed Ibrahim AI Haidan and Indian delegation was headed by Secretary (East) Shri Sanjay Singh. Since then no FOCs have been held.
- Joint Defence Coordination Committee - With signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation in 2003, a Joint Defence Cooperation Committee (JDCC) was established. JDCC provides a platform for a regular exchange of dialogue in defence sector. The latest (9th) round of JDCC was held in New Delhi on 7-8 December, 2017.
- India-UAE High-level Task Force on Investment (HLTFI) - A High Level Task Force on Investment was established in May 2012. The 7th meeting of the UAE-India High Level Joint Task Force on Investments (HLTFI) was held on 22nd September, 2019 in Abu Dhabi. The meeting was co-chaired by Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and Shri PiyushGoyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Government of India. Senior officials from both countries participated in the meeting. At the 7th meeting of the Task Force, the two sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in mutually identified areas aimed at promoting bilateral trade and investments and took note of the successful outcomes of the recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to UAE. Both sides also discussed issues relating to the tax treatment of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s (ADIA). In the context of the Air Services Agreement between India and UAE and MOUs with the Emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ras-Al-Khaimah and Sharjah, both sides discussed the implementation of these bilateral agreements. Areas for future cooperation including growth opportunities for Indian banking sector and bilateral judicial cooperation through the recognition and enforceability of court judgement in civil and commercial cases and arbitration awards in each other’s jurisdiction were also discussed.
- Joint Committee for Consular Affairs (JCCA) - The MoU for establishing a Joint Committee on Consular Affairs was signed on April 16, 2012. The second round of JCCA was held in Abu Dhabi on 14 December 2016.
- Joint Security Committee (JSC) - The JSC addresses issues being dealt with under various security related agreements signed between the two countries. The JSC will also be mandated to look into expeditious processing of these pending cases.
- Joint Business Council - A Joint Business Council consisting of Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FUCCI) and FICCI is also in place.
- Joint Committee on Manpower issues - Second Joint Committee Meeting between the two sides was held in New Delhi in September 2011 (1st meeting was held in Dubai in May, 2007). A meeting was held on 31 January, 2018 at UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation, Dubai where bilateral issues regarding manpower and labor were discussed.
- Joint Working Group on Skill Development - Under the provisions of the MoU for Cooperation in Skill Development and Recognition of Qualifications signed with UAE in February 2016, a JWG was formed to establish and implement framework of activities. The JWG held its first meeting in New Delhi on 29 April 2016 which was co-chaired by Secretary, MSDE and DG of National Qualifications Authority, UAE. In September 2018, a delegation from the UAE Ministry of Human Resource & Emiratization visited India to collaborate for various skill development initiatives.
- India-UAE Strategic Dialogue - In pursuant to the Joint Statement issued during the visit of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to India in February 2016, this dialogue at the level of MoS has been institutionalized.
- Consultations between our National Security Council Secretariat and their UAE counterpart - As a follow up to the Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of PM's visit to UAE in August 2015, regular consultations between our National Security Council Secretariat and their UAE counterpart have been institutionalized. There have been regular exchanges of visits to further cooperation in identified security related areas of common interest.
- Joint Working Group on Rail Cooperation: First meeting of ‘Joint Working Group on Rail Cooperation’ was held in February 2019, in New Delhi.