Stronger than ever ties

Stronger than ever ties
Navdeep Singh, Ambassador of India to the UAE

A number of high-level engagements between India and the UAE have contributed immensely to bilateral relations. Navdeep Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE, shares his thoughts on important issues with Khaleej Times


Suchitra Steven Samuel

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2018, 4:17 PM

Last updated: Sun 28 Jan 2018, 4:28 PM

Bilateral ties
I have no hesitation in saying that relations between India and the UAE are better than ever. Following the historic 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 in January 2017 as the Chief Guest on our Republic Day, we have seen a number of high-level engagements, which have contributed immensely to bilateral relationship.

New areas of cooperation
This year has seen us expand significantly our cooperation into new areas such as defence, hydro-carbons, space and logistics. We've seen the first UAE nano-satellite being launched by an Indian PSLV. We have also witnessed the $1 billion investment by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) into India's National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (NIIF) and another $1 billion into an affordable housing fund promoted by HDFC Bank. DP World has also committed to invest at least $1 billion through NIIF into important areas such as ports, inland waterways and logistics. A number of other major initiatives are in the pipeline and I am sure that you are going to receive some very positive news in the coming weeks.

High-level visits in 2017 and their outcomes
As part of our growing bilateral engagements, we've seen a number of high-level visits from India representing our Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Power, Renewable Energy, Food Processing, Commerce and Industry and more. We have also held two rounds of the India-UAE Strategic Dialogue and a very important meeting of High Level Task Force on Investment. These engagements contribute to increased investment flows into India, new areas of defence cooperation including our first-ever bilateral naval exercise that is scheduled for March 2018 and a strong platform for cooperation in space.

Indian government's and embassy's plans for NRIs
The Government of India attaches the highest importance to its engagement with the large NRI community around the world. The UAE, with 3.3 million Indians, now has the world's largest concentration of NRIs and is obviously a key area of focus for the government. The revised guidelines for the Indian Community Welfare Fund have enabled us to do much more in terms of the services and the assistance that we offer to Indian workers in the UAE. We have used this fund to help domestic maids in distress, to provide financial assistance to workers who lose their jobs, air tickets to those who are unable to return to India on their own and much more. At the same time, we are also working closely with some of the leading NRI businessmen and entrepreneurs to facilitate greater investments into India in sectors such as healthcare, education, retail, tourism, construction and others.
Facilities for NRIs returning to India
This is mainly handled by the states that the NRIs belong to. Some states have fairly sophisticated programmes to assist returning NRIs, while others are putting their systems in place. The embassy helps by obtaining out passes and buying air tickets for those who find themselves in financial distress.

India - Country of Honour at the 15th Abu Dhabi festival
The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival is one of the flagship cultural events of Abu Dhabi. We are delighted that India has been selected as the 'Country of Honour' for this important Festival. We will see major Indian performers such as Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, the Tanusree Shankar Dance Academy and the Raghu Dixit Project performing in Abu Dhabi in March. The festival will also feature a major musical titled 'The Merchants of Bollywood', a choreographer who will conduct Bollywood dance workshop and a renowned calligrapher, who will not only display his skills, but will also collaborate with Emirati counterparts. I am sure the diversity of content in this festival will be a treat for members of the Indian Community, Emiratis and also other nationalities.

Success of AYUSH
The first-ever AYUSH Conference held in Dubai in November was an outstanding success. It featured experts and practitioners from India, UAE and a number of countries around the world. The importance of AYUSH was reflected in the presence of the Minister for AYUSH, J.P. Nadda. The focus on alternate remedies available through AYUSH for many of today's lifestyle diseases was particularly relevant.

Message to the community
I want to convey our warmest greetings to all the members of the Indian community on the occasion of India's 69th Republic Day. This is an extremely important occasion for us to remember the sagacity and contribution of our founding fathers. They are the ones who gave us the Constitution that has not only stood the test of time, but also strengthened our status as the world's largest democracy. On this important occasion, I urge members of the Indian Community to participate in the Sankalp se Sidhi programme for the development of New India, particularly by contributing to transformational programmes such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. At the same time, I want to compliment the Indian Community for the manner in which they have established such a stellar reputation as one of the most hardworking, entrepreneurial and law-abiding communities in this diverse nation. I also want to convey our deep sense of appreciation for the wisdom of UAE's leadership in building a multi-cultural and tolerant society that enables our many communities to sustain their linguistic and religious traditions.

We deeply respect the fact that the UAE will celebrate 2018 as the Year of Zayed. Our Embassy and our Consulate in Dubai will work closely with different sections of the Indian community and with our Emirati friends to ensure that we all join in paying our tribute to the Father of the Nation. - Navdeep Suri, Ambassador of India to the UAE


Jai Hind! Students perform as part of festivities
Jai Hind! Students perform as part of festivities

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