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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

UAE and India to further trade relationship during Modi visit next week 

UAE ambassador to India said a number of agreements related to finance, education and information exchange are to be signed, Ramola Talwar Badam writes from New Delhi

Dr Ahmed Al Banna, UAE ambassador to India, speaking at a panel at the India-UAE Partnership Summit in Dubai in 2017. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Dr Ahmed Al Banna, UAE ambassador to India, speaking at a panel at the India-UAE Partnership Summit in Dubai in 2017. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The UAE and India will sign a number of agreements strengthening their historical trade relationship next week during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's two-day visit to the Emirates.

Between 12 and 14 agreements related to finance, education, training and information exchange sectors, will be reached, the UAE ambassador to India, Ahmed Al Banna, said on Tuesday.

“We have a historical trade relationship with India and over the past years it has diversified from oil and gas into new sectors like IT, space technology, defence manufacturing, security and renewable energy,” he said.

Security is a key feature of the cooperation, with the ambassador saying the two countries are working closely "in fighting terrorism, extremists and terrorist organisations".

Bilateral trade has grown from US$182 million in the 1980s to $53 billion in the year 2016-17.

Mr Modi will sign the agreements on Sunday, after which he will head to Dubai where he is the keynote speaker at the World Government Summit.

He will address the Indian community at the Dubai Opera the next day.

A request has also been made for the exemption of visas for UAE nationals when they travel to India, which would follow similar recent moves by China and Ireland.

Currently, UAE citizens can apply for e-visas that are processed in less than 24 hours and allow for entry at 14 Indian airports.

As part of the easing of requirements for Indians entering the UAE, Indians with US, UK or European visas or residencies can obtain a visa on arrival.

Re-negotiation of the air services agreement between the two countries, set to discuss increasing flights and routes, is yet to take place after a meeting was cancelled due to technical reasons.

As per a clause in the existing air services agreement, when capacity on routes between the UAE and India reaches 85 per cent, quotas that are shared between air carriers in both countries should be re-negotiated.

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UAE carriers have reached 100 per cent of their passenger quota and more than 55 per cent of Indians who travel outside of India travel via UAE airports, the ambassador said.

New Delhi is currently marking Abu Dhabi Week, which will also be launched in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, on Wednesday to encourage investment in the UAE.

The heads of 134 firms are in India for meetings with businesses and investors.