|Published: September 2017|
DUBAI. Governments of India and the UAE, through various agencies and departments are closely working to substantially augment the trade and investment relations between the two countries, reports Emirates News Agency WAM.
The relations between the two countries are at an upswing following the exchange of visits at the highest levels in the past two years. Prime Minister Modi paid a historic visit to UAE in August 2015 and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces paid official visits to India in 2016 and 2017.
He was the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day this year. During his visit the two countries elevated their relationship to comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides also signed 14 agreements and it was envisioned that UAE would invest US$75 billion in to India. Prime Minister Modi and H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan also set a target of 60% increase in bilateral trade in the next five years.
India and UAE have been working closely to enhance their cooperation in a range of fields to realize the vision of their leaderships. There has been regular exchange of high level visits in the past few months. For instance, India’s MOS for Food Processing Industries Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti visited UAE in August 2017 and UAE’s MOS for Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Anwar Gargash also paid a visit to India at the same time.
The status of the flow of investment and strategic partnership will further be elaborated at a two-day India-UAE Partnership Summit (IUPS) to be held at the Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, from October 30-31, 2017, which will be attended by more than 800 Delegates from India and the UAE, including top government officials, private entrepreneurs and business leaders belonging to Corporate UAE and Corporate India.
The Summit – with a theme of Investment Implementation – will deliberate about how important projects in India could be financed and executed with the participation of the local business houses of UAE. It will also review the trade and investment relations between the two countries in light of the Joint Statement adopted by the two sides during the visit of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in January 2017.
This is the only business conference of its kind to be pro-actively supported by the Government of India through the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi and Consulate General of India, Dubai as well as the UAE Ministry of Economy. IUPS is also the only such bilateral summit where Ministers of Government of India as well as UAE will be participating.
Senior Ministers from two Indian states will also participate, the names of which will be announced later. India-UAE Partnership Forum is supported by knowledge partners, KPMG and attracted the interests of the media, including, Gulf News, Forbes Middle East, Sony TV and Times Now television channels.
UAE and India share age-old ties whose foundation lies in trade and investment. The annual two way trade between the two countries today stands at about $ 53 billion and the leadership of the two countries is committed to increase it by 60% over the next 5 years. While India remains the UAE’s top trading partner, the UAE is India’s third largest trading partner – something that the strategic partnership could boost further India is also looking at significant increase in UAE investments into the country especially on the infrastructure side. UAE has invested more than $4.7 billion in FDI into India since 2000. The Joint Statement of January 2017 envisaged $75 billion investments from UAE to India. An MOU on the framework for facilitating the participation of UAE Institutional Investors in National Infrastructure Investment Fund, with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority agreeing to contribute towards the NIIF Master Fund, has recently been signed.
Indians companies and Indians are also one of the largest investors in the UAE economy by setting up companies, industries, warehouses and other facilities as well as in real estate. Indians invested AED 20.4 billion into Dubai’s real estate in 18 months from January 2016 till June 2017, according to Dubai Land Department. This is on top of the AED 20 billion invested by Indians in Dubai’s real estate in 2015. As an expatriate national business community, NRIs are also collectively the largest employer group in the private sector.
A large number of Indians and Indian companies have made investments in UAE across various Emirates. These include Lulu Group, NMC, Aster Group, Hinduja Group, Sobha Developers, Tatas, Mahindra, Dabur, Essar, Apollo tyres, Zee Entertainment, IFFCO etc. A number of Indian universities have opened international campuses in UAE and several banks have representative offices.
“India and the UAE are undergoing through an exciting time in our bilateral relationship that started with the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to UAE in August 2015. His visit was followed by the very successful visits of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to India in 2016 and 2017. Today we are cooperating across a wide spectrum of areas, including such strategic areas as space and defence. India and the UAE are all set to leverage on our mutual strengths and create synergies to help both the nations achieve their respective national economic visions. We are also very confident of attracting a lot of investment from UAE to India given our close relationship and the opportunities that exist in India,” Navdeep Singh Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE, said.
The private sector of India and the UAE, especially the NRI business community has also come forward to support the strategic government-to-government partnership, first by creating a new pan-UAE business entity, the Business Leaders Forum (BLF) in March 2017. BLF, set up under the direct guidance of the UAE Ministry of Economy, Embassy of India and Consulate General of India, is the new umbrella organisation of business leaders in the UAE.
Vipul, Consul General of India, said, “Government vision can’t become successful without the active participation of the private sector. It’s heartening to see that the private sectors of both the countries have come forward to support the strategic partnership vision of both the countries and we are pleased to extend our all-out support to this important event. IUPS will bring the public sector and private sectors of both India and the UAE and help create a new eco-system that will help channel investment, boost trade and socio-economic cooperation that will see continuous engagement to ensure smooth flow of investment in to India and the UAE.”
Dr Azad Moopen, President of Business Leaders Forum and Founder Chairman of Aster DM Healthcare Group, said, “As the platform formed by high-net worth NRIs and UAE nationals, the BLF wants to synergise our resources to contribute to the economies of India and the UAE and the IUPS will provide the first breakthrough in our quest to support both the economies in a bigger way and we are not talking in just setting up companies or industries – but taking part in mid- to large-size projects that will help the economies.
“IUPS is one of many future initiatives to be undertaken by the BLF, which will elevate our role to a new level – and make us the strategic partner of India and the UAE. All of us at the BLF are more than happy to support the visions of our respective countries.”
Paras Shahdadpuri, Vice President of BLF and Chairman of Nikai Group of Companies, said, “Both India and the UAE are two major global economic powers to reckon with. India ranks 7th in GDP on nominal basis, but on Purchasing Power Parity basis, India ranks 3rd in the world after US and China. India and UAE have historic trade, economic, investment and even family relations for centuries. Indians are the biggest foreign investors in UAE.
“There has been a paradigm shift in India-UAE relationship after the historic visit of Prime Minister Modi to UAE, which took place after 3 decades, from being traditional economic partners to now strategic partners. This visit has been reciprocated twice by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahayan in February 2016 and later as Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day in 2017.
“This new G-to-G relationship has provided enormous boost in strategic fields such as in Food security, energy security, cooperation in Space research, in Defence Production, etc. At this stage, it is important for private sector, and particularly we as NRIs to join hands with our Emirati investor friends to encourage investments in India. As investors in both the countries, we feel there is a strong need amongst ourselves to play a greater role in reshaping the destinies of our two great countries.
“India not only has a lot of solid resources, scientific capabilities, research and development, but also a large pool of soft power – including Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) as well as Indian cuisine and culture – that could create new opportunities for both the countries,” Shahdadpuri added.
Sudesh Aggarwal, Board Member and Sector Chairman-Investments of BLF, Chairman of Giant Group & India Trade and Exhibition Centre (ITEC), said, “IUPS will be a game-changing summit and will redefine the role of the private sector in realising the governments’ vision. The event will help generate new ideas on how the UAE’s private sector businesses can leverage their complementary strengths to raise funds to finance major infrastructure projects.
“The event will be full of surprises, announcements and will be full of real-time project funding initiatives that will change the way private sector funding is carried out. The Summit will see government authorities finding a strong desire and participation by the private companies willing to share the burden of the public sector and create a genuine public-private partnership that will reduce governments’ financial burden and see the private sector extend its hands to governments.”
Business Leaders Forum (BLF) was formally launched in March 2017 and has been set up under the direct guidance of the UAE Ministry of Economy, Embassy of India and Consulate General of India with India Trade & Exhibition Centre (ITEC) acting as the official Secretariat of BLF.
Sripriyaa Kumaria, Director-General of ITEC m.e. and the Secretary-General of BLF, “As representatives of the UAE’s private sector businesses, it is heartening to see that a large number of associations are coming forward to support the visions of the governments of India and the UAE – which will provide greater impetus to the economic programmes.
“The BLF and its flagship event IUPS – for the first time in our history – will provide a platform for the private sector to play an active role in the public development efforts and thus create an ideal public-private partnership across India and the UAE.”
The IUPS is being supported by UAE-India Business Council (UIBC), UAE International Investors’ Council – UIIC, Association of Indian Chambers (Assocham), Invest India as well as other stakeholders.
India-UAE Partnership Forum is supported by knowledge partner namely KPMG – the global accounting and auditing firm, Gulf News –The Official Newspaper, Forbes Middle East – The official business magazine & Sony TV and Times Now television channels.