India, UAE Eye New Pacts in Energy, Ports, Railways During Modi's Visit
PM Modi will hold a meeting with the UAE President, inaugurate a Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi and deliver a keynote address at the World Government Summit in Dubai during his visit to the Gulf state.
India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are involved in negotiations to finalise pacts and understandings in the areas of energy, ports infrastructure and railways during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to the Gulf nation on Tuesday.
Addressing a special briefing on Modi's visit, Indian foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra told reporters that the pacts would be signed after delegation-level talks between Modi and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the presidential palace in Abu Dhabi.
"The substantive agreements and understandings that are under discussion between India and the UAE this time would allow the two leaders to inject further momentum across the whole range of areas that we cooperate," Kwatra emphasised.
The Indian foreign secretary revealed that the pacts would in particular concern energy security and energy trade and ports, maritime and logistics.
"Since digital cooperation between the two economies is an important element of our partnership, we are also looking to arrive at an understanding on investments in the field of digital infrastructure. Arrangements for promotion and protection of capital flows in our two economies have become an important feature of our relationship in the past 10 years. This is also something under discussion and part of focus," Kwatra stated.
He added that officials on both sides were also looking to seal pacts in fintech cooperation and maritime heritage.
Kwatra noted that the bilateral ties underwent a "complete transformation" since PM Modi paid a visit to the UAE in 2015. In 2017, the two nations elevated their overall relationship to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).
"India and UAE enjoy warm, close and multi-faceted relations underpinned by strong political, economic and cultural linkages. And of course, driven by the vision and guidance of the leaderships of the two countries," he remarked.
The Indian official highlighted that bilateral trade in 2022-23 amounted to $85 billion, following the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
He stated that the UAE was not only India's third-largest trading partner, but also New Delhi's fourth-biggest foreign investor last year.
Kwatra underlined that the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Temple in Abu Dhabi by the Indian leader on 14 February would be the "highlight" of the visit.
Modi to Visit Qatar from UAE
The Indian Prime Minister will travel to Qatar to hold a bilateral meeting with Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha after concluding his engagements in the UAE, Kwatra disclosed.
The previously unannounced visit would take place against the backdrop of Doha granting amnesty to eight Indian Navy veterans
who were serving a jail sentence in the country on charges not made public by either government.
The senior Indian diplomat expressed his gratitude to Qatar's Emir and the government for the pardon to the Indian citizens.