x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sheikh Abdullah starts two-day visit to India

Minister's arrival coincides with news that a UAE consulate will open in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, within a few months.

Sheikh Abdullah with Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Sheikh Abdullah with Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs began a two-day visit to India yesterday.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed's tour of the subcontinent follows a visit by the Indian foreign minister, SM Krishna, to the UAE last month.

Yesterday Sheikh Abdullah met the Indian finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, to discuss improving trade and energy ties, according to the state news agency Wam.

He will meet Mr Krishna today in New Delhi. He is also expected to meet the minister of commerce, industry and textiles.

His arrival coincided with news that a UAE consulate will open in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, within a few months. More than 1 million people from the state live and work in the UAE.

India's minister of state for external affairs, E Ahamed, said no date had been fixed for the consulate's opening. "It will take some time before everything is worked out," he said.

India and the UAE share a long tradition of close ties. The two countries' trade during 2011-12 was valued at Dh246bn. That cemented their relationship as each other's biggest trading partners.

"The UAE contributes significantly to India's energy security," the Indian ministry of external affairs said. "It also hosts an Indian community of 1.75 million - the largest expatriate community in the country."

In his visit to the UAE last month, Mr Krishna urged Indian diplomats in Gulf nations to improve the living and working conditions of millions of Indians in the region.

frahman@thenational.ae