Let’s boost UAE-India ties: Patil

ABU DHABI - India is negotiating a free trade agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which is expected to be finalised in the near future to boost already prospering trade ties, Indian president Pratibha Devisingh Patil said.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Wed 24 Nov 2010, 10:58 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 11:33 AM

Speaking to Abu Dhabi’s business community at a luncheon hosted by the Abu Dhabi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) Chairman Mohammed Thani Murshed Al Rumaithi, Patil urged business communities of both nations to form joint-venture companies to take up infrastructure projects and make investments into each other’s nations.

Over two hundred businessmen, government officials attended the event, which was addressed by UAE Foreign Trade Minister Shaikha Lubna Al Qassimi, Indian business delegation leader VRS Natarajan and ADCCI board member Yusuffali MA.

The president, in her speech, covered India’s strong economic growth in recent years and its future potential, the country’s close ties with the UAE and the Gulf region, and the need for close cooperation between the private sectors of both fast-growing economies.

On the global crisis, she complemented the leadership of the two nations for bravely facing the crisis. “Our prudent policies helped us to weather the effects of the economic crisis fairly well in comparison to other major economies,” she said.

“But we need to join hands to strengthen the current fragile recovery of the global economy.”

She urged Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds to have a significant presence in India’s trillion-dollar economy, which has become a destination for foreign investment.

Potential areas where foreign investment is encouraged include developing basic infrastructure like roads and ports, power generation and communications among other, she said.

India has also embarked upon an ambitious programme of disinvestment in its public sector, the president said.

“There are a large number of Special Economic Zones in India that beckon UAE investors,” she said.

The visiting leader also urged the need for reactivating the India-UAE Joint Business Council and underlined the need of increase in the frequency of exchange of business delegations, as India has emerged as the fourth largest economy in the world on Purchasing Power Parity basis.

She said India’s growth in the four years preceding the onset of the global financial crisis was around nine per cent, which lowered down slightly to sven per cent, due to the crisis. She projected the economic growth to rebound to 8.5 per cent in the current financial year and nine per cent in 2011-2012.

India shares historical, trade and civilisation links and cultural affinity with the entire Arab world, especially the UAE; this makes both countries natural partners for the economic and social development of our respective countries.

The Gulf region as a whole is important for India not only because of geographical proximity and for meeting our energy needs, but also because of the large Indian community, which is contributing to the growth of economic and business activities in the region.

The president said the recent opening of the Shaikh Khalifa Special Economic Zone in Abu Dhabi will serve to enhance Indian economic presence in Abu Dhabi.


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