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India - UAE Partnership: Ties across the sea

What has the India-UAE relations looked like?

After centuries of a friendly relationship, in 1972, India and the UAE established official diplomatic relations. This led to economic, political, and strategic relations between the two nations. This relationship underwent an even gigantic makeover when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UAE in 2015 marking the first state visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the country in 34 years. Following this, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi visited India in 2017, when it was agreed that the existing bilateral relations would be upgraded to a strategic partnership.

What steps have been taken to establish this partnership?

From labour migration to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) that the UAE signed with India, this is a unique partnership. At its core lies economic relations. In July 2023, a historic agreement was signed between India and the UAE between the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of UAE to establish a Local Currency Settlement System to promote the use of the Indian Rupee and UAE Durham for cross-border transactions. The UAE’s investment in India is estimated to be around USD 11.67 billion, making it the ninth biggest investor in India, and the bilateral trade reached USD 85 billion in 2022-23. 

How has this partnership affected India and its position?

With the Prime Minister’s seventh official visit to the UAE in February 2024 and the inauguration of the much-awaited BAPS Mandir, the first Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, the partnership is at an all-time high.

  1. The Bilateral Investment Treaty was signed which promises to increase investments thereby promoting economic growth in both countries. 

  2. The India-Middle East Economic Corridor agreement built upon existing cooperation helps boost regional connectivity and nurture economic ties. 

  3. Payment platforms and domestic cards have been interlinked, allowing seamless transactions and promoting financial cooperation.

  4. Agreements with RITES Limited for port infrastructure allow the enhancement of trade between India and the UAE, solidifying India's position in the global economic landscape.


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