|Published: January 2017|
New Delhi. The State Visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India from 24th to 26th January as the Chief Guest of India’s 68th Republic Day celebrations marked a momentous occasion in relations between India and the UAE, said a Joint Statement at the conclusion of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed’s visit to India.
The statement added that the strong bonds of friendship between UAE and India have found clear expression in the series of high-level bilateral visits between the two countries in the past two years, noting that the visit afforded a timely opportunity to both Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to further build upon their close and regular consultations which began in August 2015.
The two sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in bilateral ties since Prime Minister Modi’s August 2015 visit to UAE and reiterated their common resolve to further intensifying and strengthening the constructive UAE-India bilateral engagement.
With regard to countering terrorism, the two parties acknowledged the common threat posed by terrorism to peace and security, reiterating their strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomever, and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere.
In this regard, both sides noted the importance of efforts to disrupt terrorist networks, their financing and movement, in accordance with the relevant principles and purposes of the UN Charter and international laws.
Following is the UAE-India Joint Statement issued at the end of the state visit made by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The statement reads: “The state visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to India from 24th – 26th January, 2017 as the honoured Chief Guest at India’s 68th Republic Day celebrations, marked a momentous occasion in the warm and friendly relations between India and the UAE.
This was the second successive state visit by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to India since February 2016, clearly reflecting the warmth and goodwill he and the people of UAE have for India and its people.
The strong bonds of time-tested friendship between India and UAE have found clear expression in the series of high-level bilateral visits between the two countries in the past two years.
During the visit, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed was accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Cabinet Ministers, senior officials and business leaders. He received a ceremonial welcome in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan on 25th January. President Shri Pranab Mukherjee hosted a dinner banquet in honour of the Crown Prince, which was preceded by official discussions. H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed met with Vice-President Shri Mohammed Hamid Ansari and had delegation-level discussions with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who also hosted a banquet lunch in honour of the visiting dignitary.
This visit afforded a timely opportunity to both His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to further build upon their close and regular consultations which began in August, 2015. They expressed satisfaction at the progress made in bilateral ties since Prime Minister Modi’s August 2015 visit to the UAE and reiterated their common resolve to further intensifying and strengthening the constructive and wide-ranging India-UAE bilateral engagement.
During their productive and fruitful discussions on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of common interest, the two leaders noted that the mutually beneficial ties between the two countries were driven by the aspirations of their two peoples and the shared ideals on which their two nations are based. They expressed satisfaction that these ties have been maturing into a robust relationship across a broad spectrum of political, economic, trade and investment, energy, education, culture, defence and security spheres.
The two sides reaffirmed their deep commitment to building a comprehensive strategic partnership, as agreed upon during the landmark visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the UAE in August 2015 and reiterated during the last visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to India in February 2016, in order to elevate their multifaceted ties to an even higher and qualitatively new level based on mutual understanding and confidence in each other with the primary aim of ensuring the peace and prosperity of their two peoples. In this context, they welcomed the signing of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement.
In the matter of Global Issues and Strategic Dialogue, the two leaders resolved to harness the shared strengths and complementarities to expand the India-UAE partnership for the benefit of their countries, for peace, stability and prosperity in their region, and for the betterment of the world. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed stated that the UAE looks forward to a stable and prosperous India playing an increasingly important role in regional and global affairs.
The two leaders agreed to support each other’s candidatures and campaigns at the United Nations. They took note of the growing call amongst the United Nations Member States for an early and comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, including expansion in both categories of membership, to make it more representative of contemporary world realities. Prime Minister Modi thanked His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed for the consistent support expressed by the UAE for India’s candidature for permanent membership in a reformed and expanded UN Security Council.
Outlining the urgent need for a rule-based, just and equitable system of regional and international governance, the two sides agreed to further strengthen dialogue and consultations on major bilateral, regional, and international matters of mutual concern. In this context, the two leaders expressed satisfaction that the first round of the India-UAE policy planning Strategic Dialogue between the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as announced during the February 2016 visit, was held on 20th January, 2017, in New Delhi.
Regarding Regional Security and Countering International Terrorism, the two leaders acknowledged the common threat posed by terrorism to peace and security. They reiterated their strong condemnation of and resolute opposition to terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, wherever committed and by whomsoever, and declared that there could be no justification for terrorism anywhere.
The two sides condemned efforts, including those by states, to use religion to justify, sustain and sponsor terrorism against other countries. They further deplored efforts by countries to give religious and sectarian colour to political issues and pointed out the responsibility of all states to control the activities of the so-called ‘non-state actors’.
The two leaders articulated their clear and unequivocal resolve to cooperate on counter-terrorism by adopting a policy of zero tolerance towards the menace of terrorism. Satisfied by growing bilateral collaboration on counter-terrorism, information sharing and capacity-building, they expressed confidence that these efforts would contribute to regional and global peace and security.
The two sides agreed to coordinate efforts to counter radicalisation and the misuse of religion by groups and countries for inciting hatred and perpetrating acts of terrorism. They emphasised the need to facilitate regular exchanges of religious scholars and intellectuals and to organise conferences and seminars to promote the values of peace, tolerance, inclusiveness and welfare that are inherent in all religions.
Both leaders emphasised the importance of promoting a culture of inclusiveness, openness and tolerance within and among societies and agreed to work together closely to confront the global ills of extremism, terrorism and religious intolerance. They reiterated that the Indian and the UAE experiences in building inclusive societies should continue to be promoted as effective models in countering extremism and radicalism.
Both sides noted the importance of efforts to disrupt terrorist networks, their financing and movement, in accordance with the relevant principles and purposes of the UN Charter and international laws. The two sides deplored the use of double standards in addressing the menace of international terrorism and agreed to strengthen cooperation in combating terrorism both at the bilateral level and within the multilateral system. In this regard, they called for early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.
The two leaders expressed their grave concern about the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism which undermines security and stability. The two leaders agreed that resolute and credible steps must be taken to eliminate safe havens and sanctuaries that provide shelter to terrorists and their activities.
The Indian side expressed deep appreciation for the solidarity expressed by the UAE on the terrorist attacks on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot in January 2016, and on the Army headquarters in Uri in September, 2016.
The two leaders strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Kabul and Kandahar on 10th January, 2017, and underscored the need to bring the perpetrators of these dastardly and cowardly acts to justice. Prime Minister Modi conveyed his heartfelt condolences on the loss of lives of the UAE and Afghan nationals in these attacks. He wished for a speedy recovery to the UAE diplomats injured in the attacks.
Concerning Security, Defence and Space cooperation, Prime Minister Modi stated that he appreciated the support extended by UAE security agencies on specific issues of security concern to India. The two leaders reiterated that the ongoing close cooperation on a range of security issues, particularly on counter-terrorism, maritime security and cyber-security, remained a key pillar of the bilateral strategic partnership.
Acknowledging the importance of the ongoing bilateral security cooperation for ensuring a peaceful environment conducive to the progress and development of the two countries, the two sides agreed to further enhance cooperation in the fields of law enforcement, anti-money laundering, smuggling of fake currency, drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal migration and other transnational organised crimes. In this context, the two leaders described the MoU on cooperation in prevention and combating of human trafficking signed during the visit as an important step forward in developing joint strategies to combat such threats.
Expressing serious concerns at the misuse of cyber space as a medium to promote subversive and extremist ideologies, the two leaders acknowledged the importance of the MoU on Technical Cooperation in Cyber Space and Combating Cyber Crime, signed during the February 2016 visit of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, as the cornerstone of the expanding bilateral cooperation in this area. The two leaders expressed happiness on the signing of an MoU on technical development and cooperation in cyber space during the visit. To further deepen cooperation in this area, they agreed to the setting up of joint Research and Development Centres of Excellence.
Acknowledging that the agreement on Defence Cooperation renewed in 2014 provided the general framework to strengthen bilateral defence ties, the two leaders agreed to provide further impetus to these relations, including joint exercises, training of naval, air and land forces, and also in the area of coastal defence, and through participation in defence exhibitions. They expressed satisfaction at the successful holding of joint military exercises in May-June 2016. The two sides also welcomed the signing of the MoU on the Mutual Protection of Classified Information during the May 2016 visit of the Indian Defence Minister to the UAE in fulfillment of their commitment articulated in the February 2016 joint statement.
The UAE side acknowledged the opportunities offered under the ‘Make in India’ initiative for joint production of defence equipment in India and also for the procurement of defence material. In this regard, the two sides described the signing of an MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Defence Industry during this visit as an important step forward.
Expressing satisfaction at the progress achieved in the eighth round of Joint Defence Cooperation Committee talks held in Abu Dhabi in December 2016, the two sides agreed to hold the next meeting of the Joint Defence Cooperation Committee in 2017.
The two sides expressed common resolve to bolster cooperation and exchanges on countering piracy in their shared maritime domains and to exchange experiences in maritime security, including joint anti-piracy training and exercises. They agreed to establish technical arrangements for white shipping (non-military) information exchange and to explore cooperation in the field of hydrography. The UAE side expressed interest in the coastal surveillance systems developed by India.
Prime Minister Modi thanked the UAE Armed Forces for their participation in the Republic Day Parade, and expressed admiration for the tireless efforts of the UAE Armed Forces in promoting regional security, peace and stability.
On the subject of Trade, Investment and Economic Development, the two sides described bilateral trade ties as an abiding link between the two countries. The two leaders lauded the current level of economic and trade engagement with both countries being among each other’s largest trading partners. Over recent years, both countries, as economic hubs, have become increasingly interconnected and continue to develop a range of synergies in numerous fields.
Prime Minister Modi and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed agreed that the UAE and India must continue to cooperate closely in order to expand mutual trade and economic opportunities, leveraging the strategic bonds that exist between the two countries. In order to develop a medium and long term strategy for increasing bilateral trade by 60 percent over the next five years, as agreed during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UAE in August 2015, the two sides decided to conduct required studies to come up with action plans by June 2017.
These would focus on identification of potential sectors and the impeding tariff and non-tariff barriers, exploring opportunities in services sector and formulating a sector-specific strategy to boost two way trade and investments. In this context, they expressed satisfaction at the signing of an MoU between the Indian Ministry of Commerce and the UAE Ministry of Economy on trade remedial measures to promote cooperation in areas of anti-dumping during the visit.
The two sides underlined the importance of the MoU on the Indian Rupee and UAE Dirham Bilateral Currency Swap Arrangement between Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates concluded during the Crown Prince’s previous visit in February 2016, as a useful mechanism for trade promotion.
It was also noted that the MoUs signed by the Confederation of Indian Industry with the Registration Authority of Abu Dhabi Global Market at the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit in November 2016, and another on Mutual Cooperation and Technical Assistance between SEBI and Abu Dhabi Global Market Financial Services Regulatory Authority, would facilitate joint collaboration on initiatives and efforts to further encourage business developments.
The two leaders lauded the work of the UAE-India High Level Task Force on Investments, and reiterated the important role it plays in promoting economic and investments cooperation between the two countries.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed reaffirmed his strong confidence in India’s vibrant economy and expressed appreciation for Prime Minister Modi’s inspiring vision for the future of the country. Prime Minister Modi apprised His Highness the Crown Prince of the progress on a range of key initiatives, including “Start Up India”, “Make in India”, “Smart City”, “Digital India” and “Clean India”, highlighting their strong potential to provide the Indian economy with a positive thrust for a robust and sustained growth.
The UAE side reaffirmed its interest in investing in infrastructure development in India, especially in priority areas such as energy, power generation and transmission, defence production, industrial corridors and parks, railways, roads, ports, shipping and logistics. The two leaders welcomed the signing of MoUs on Cooperation in Maritime Transport, Mutual Recognition of Certificates of Competency of Seafarers, and Cooperation in the Road Transport and Highways Sector, during the visit.
The two leaders reviewed the progress in realising the US$75 billion target for UAE investments in India’s plans for rapid expansion of next generation infrastructure development. P.M. Modi invited UAE participation in India’s National Infrastructure Investment Master Fund as an anchor investor. The two leaders agreed that the Joint Working Group formed under the MoU on the framework for facilitating the participation of UAE Institutional Investors in the National Infrastructure Investment Fund should meet regularly to boost investment ties to realise the full potential.
Describing the existing Bilateral Investment Treaty of December 2013 as a key framework for promotion of investments ties, the two leaders directed their respective Ministries to commence renegotiations on the revised treaty text for early finalisation.
The two sides agreed to further strengthen their mechanisms for exchange of information in tax matters under the existing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed encouraged Indian participation and partnership in Expo 2020 Dubai and also presented to Prime Minister Modi an overview of the UAE’s upcoming developmental priorities. The Indian side conveyed the interest of Indian companies to be partners in the infrastructure projects being undertaken by the UAE in preparation for the Dubai Expo, as well as in UAE’s development plans.
Regarding Energy and Climate Change, and keeping in view the importance of energy security as a key aspect of the strategic partnership, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the current level of energy sector cooperation, acknowledging the UAE as being among the largest suppliers of crude oil to India.
The two leaders agreed to explore ways to transform the buyer-seller relationship in the energy sector to one of deeper partnership focusing on investment and joint ventures in petrochemical complexes, and cooperation in joint exploration in India, the UAE and in third-party countries. The two sides also agreed to focus on areas of training and human resources development and cooperation in R&D in the energy sector.
The two sides welcomed the signing of the agreement on Oil Storage and Management between Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and the Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited for the establishment of Strategic Petroleum Reserve in India during the visit.
The two leaders agreed to expand their collaboration in the field of renewable energy and in the international negotiations on climate change, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and agreed to continue their strong support to the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA.
The two leaders reviewed the bilateral cooperation between government agencies, the private sector, civil society and academia in the field of climate change. They discussed possible investment opportunities for Masdar in India and potential areas of cooperation based upon the General Framework agreement for Cooperation in Renewable Energy signed in February 2016.
H.H. Sheikh Mohamed reaffirmed support for Prime Minister Modi’s initiative on the new International Solar Alliance, ISA. Prime Minister Modi thanked the Crown Prince for the UAE’s support during the ISA Steering Committee Meetings. They acknowledged the importance of ensuring synergies between the ISA and IRENA.
In the mater of Space, Electronics and IT, the two sides noted that the MoU on cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes signed between ISRO and United Arab Emirates Space Agency in February 2016 established a practical framework for cooperation in the areas of space science, technology and applications, including remote sensing, satellite communication and satellite based navigation. The two leaders agreed that the joint working group established under the ambit of this MoU would meet during 2017 to explore a long-term plan to identify and implement projects of mutual interest. Prime Minister Modi expressed happiness at the UAE’s plan to launch a Mars Mission in 2021.
The Indian side thanked the UAE side for its interest in the proposal for establishing a semiconductor fabrication facility in India. The two sides agreed to further business-to-business cooperation in Information Technology, Information Technology Enabled Services and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing.
Regarding Health and Food Security, both sides agreed to pursue opportunities in the health care industry, including the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sectors, and resolved to urge their private sectors to explore early participation in these areas.
Prime Minister Modi and H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed agreed that ensuring food security remains an area of high priority for the two sides. The Indian side welcomed the proposal from the UAE side for establishing food security parks, including through the creation of high quality food processing infrastructure, integrated cold chain, value addition and preserving technology, packaging of food products and marketing.
On the subject of People and Skill Development, the two leaders underlined the shared values of respect for diversity, plurality and multiculturalism cherished by the two countries which are exemplified by the vibrant linkages between their peoples. They described these connections as a unique asset for both countries.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed conveyed his deep appreciation for the contributions and the role played by the Indian community in the UAE to the progress and development of their host country, noting that Indian citizens in the UAE are highly respected for their peaceful nature and hard-working ethics. Prime Minister Modi thanked the UAE leadership for ensuring the continued welfare of the Indian community and for the process of labour reforms initiated by the UAE Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.
The two sides welcomed the holding of the second meeting of the Joint Committee on Consular Affairs in Abu Dhabi in December 2016, which allowed fruitful discussions on labour and consular matters. They noted that the MoU on the Mutual Exemption of Visas for holders of Diplomatic, Special and Official Passports of the two countries signed during this visit would facilitate travel.
The two sides agreed to hold the next Meeting of India-UAE Joint Committee on Manpower Issues in the first half of 2017, and to work towards early conclusion of a revised MoU on labour and manpower.
Emphasising the need for cooperation in the skill development area as key to optimal utilisation of human resources, the two sides took note of the first meeting of the Joint Working Group formed under the aegis of the MoU for Cooperation in Skill Development and Recognition of Qualifications in April 2016 in New Delhi.
Describing the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector as an emerging area of cooperation to promote joint projects, R&D and related activities, the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the signing of an MoU during the visit.
Regarding Civil Aviation, Tourism, Culture and Press, the two leaders underlined the fact that over 1,050 flights per week between India and UAE is indicative of vibrant people to people linkages. Recognising the need to further expand and develop cooperation in the civil aviation sector, the two sides agreed to convene consultations between their respective civil aviation authorities in the first half of 2017 to discuss key areas of mutual interest.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s proposal to develop cruise tourism between the two countries. The two sides agreed to explore the feasibility of cruise routes between India and UAE and to prepare an action plan and detailed road map for the development of cruise shipping.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed the UAE’s contributions and participation in Kochi Muziris Biennale in Kerala in 2016, and for making the event such a grand success. The two sides reviewed areas of cooperation under the 2016 -18 Cultural Exchange Programme signed during the February 2016 visit of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.
They agreed to continue to promote cooperation in the media, radio, film and television. In this context, they noted that the MoU for cooperation in programme exchange between Prasar Bharati of India and Emirates News Agency, WAM, of the UAE, would further strengthen collaboration in the field of broadcasting and exchange of programmes, news and best practices.
On the subject of International and Regional Cooperation, the two leaders noted that the UAE and India share a range of common interests and positions on bilateral, regional and international issues, and must continue to strengthen their cooperation through a range of international fora. In particular, both leaders highlighted a strong desire to continue their cooperation in the framework of the Indian Ocean Rim Association and other important regional bodies.
They also reiterated their common desire to work together in the spirit of South-South cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly through capacity-building, grants and loans, collaboration in trade and technology, and joint projects aimed at supporting the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals.
In conclusion, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan thanked President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the people of India for the distinguished honour extended to him as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations. He also expressed his sincere appreciation for the warm welcome and kind hospitality extended to him and his delegation. He invited the President and the Prime Minister of India to visit the UAE at a mutually convenient time.
This visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed to India provided the two sides with another useful opportunity to consolidate the gains made in building a comprehensive strategic partnership between India and the UAE.”
(Emirates News Agency, WAM)