Relations between the two countries:

  • In the United Arab Emirates, approximately 3 million Indians live in peace.
  • India finds a ready partner in the UAE as it wants to strengthen economic engagement and security collaboration with the Gulf.
  • With security concerns arising from the turbulence in West Asia and the increased threat of terrorism, the UAE finds a natural partner in India as it ‘Look[s] East’ seeking partners for its economic expansion.
  • Due to its business-friendly environment, desire to invest in the Indian economy, and essential role in ensuring regional peace and stability, the UAE holds a unique position.

Creating a Long-Term Relationship:

  • The UAE plays an important role in India’s West Asian policy.
  • The high-level visit by both sides has given this alliance a new lease on life.
  • In 2017, the two parties inked a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement (CSP).

The UAE’s inclination toward India is due to the following factors:

  • As far as geopolitical conditions are concerned, Iran has often threatened to seal the Strait of Hormuz in the event of a conflict with Saudi Arabia or the United States. This will have a negative impact on the United Arab Emirates as well.
  • The United Arab Emirates saw Pakistan as a partner and established a strong economic and security connection with it. However, Pakistan does not appear to be of much assistance to the UAE at the moment. Pakistan has failed to assist Saudi Arabia in its war against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen and has been unable to control terrorists operating from its territory across West Asia, despite domestic problems.
  • Because the United States is on the verge of becoming hydrocarbon-independent, India is a vital source of oil and energy. The huge sovereign wealth funds of the United Arab Emirates can be a valuable resource in India’s infrastructure development.
  • Given the fact that five UAE diplomats were killed in an incident in Kandahar, Afghanistan, there has been a growing convergence between India and the UAE on the terror issue. Both countries spoke of the necessity to confront terror groups without distinction.
  • Violent wars afflict countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has failed to deliver on its promises.

Economic Cooperation:

  • The backbone of bilateral ties is trade and business.
  • The United Arab Emirates has been one of India’s most important FDI sources.
  • After China and the United States, the UAE is India’s third largest trading partner.
  • The UAE supplies 8% of India’s oil imports and is the country’s fifth largest crude oil supplier.

Cooperation in Security and Defence Sector:

  • Another important aspect of India-UAE relations is the expanding cooperation in the security and defence sectors.
  • With the rise of radicalism in the Gulf and South Asia, India seeks to strengthen security cooperation with the UAE in order to tackle terrorist threats and radicalization.
  • The Indian and UAE air forces participated in ‘Desert Eagle II,’ a ten-day air combat exercise.

Concerns:

  • In terms of investments, India’s sluggish implementation is a key stumbling block.
  • In recent years, bilateral trade has decreased dramatically.
  • Labour from other nations, such as Filipinos and Bangladeshis, have been noticed to be replacing Indian workers.

Next Steps:

  • India must ensure that investment initiatives are carried out with the necessary skills.
  • Défense trade, food and agricultural products, as well as autos, are all potential sectors for increased bilateral commerce.
  • Medical tourism is one area where India may be able to lure Emiratis.
  • Indian firms with experience in the renewable energy sector are welcome to invest in the UAE.
  • There is a need to improve cooperation in the defense sector through cooperative training programs.

Conclusion:

  • The relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates has become a focal point of India’s Extended Neighbourhood and Look West Policy in the region.
  • Shared economic and geopolitical perspectives have prompted the two countries to strive to strengthen collaboration in a variety of areas, including investment, technology and the knowledge economy, and military and security.
  • The Abraham Accords, which were just signed, have opened up a new window of opportunity for stronger India-UAE coordination and cooperation.
  • Dr. S. Jaishankar, who recently visited the UAE, noted that the Accords would strengthen the UAE’s position as a logistical hub for Asian countries, including India’s—another encouraging sign that the India-UAE relationship is poised to reach new heights.

Source: THE HINDU.

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