UAE-India pact: Emiratis have chance to join IIT, says top official

This will be the Institute's first non-Indian campus

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 8:14 PM

An Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in the UAE is a "fantastic opportunity" to connect the two countries academically and intellectually, a top Emirati official has said.

"The important thing is that we make sure Emiratis enrol in the institute," Omar Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of an event at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

He was referring to the recent announcement that the UAE would be home to the first ever IIT campus outside India. It was part of the UAE-India trade deal signed on Friday.

A joint UAE-India vision statement had said: "Confirming the historical relations existing between the two countries and realising the need to establish world-class institutions that encourage and support innovation and technological progress, the leaders agreed to establish an IIT in the UAE."

Ghobash said many CEOs of "top companies" around the world are from the premier institute.

"I was excited when I read that IIT will have their campus here in the UAE," said Ghobash on the sidelines of India Pavilion's 'Festival of Ideas' event.

The assistant minister said the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) signed between the UAE and India is a "significant milestone that ushers in a new phase of joint strategic cooperation in all sectors".

"The UAE & India have had a rich … history of strong people-to-people bonds," he added.

The Emirati official highlighted how Indian startups have "great potential" in the UAE.

The CEPA talks of cooperation and expansion in bilateral food and agriculture trade and responsible foreign investments in agriculture and food systems. The UAE and India have agreed to promote and strengthen the infrastructure and dedicated logistic services connecting farms to ports to final destinations in the UAE.

"We will contribute to making farming more equitable for farmers in India," Ghobash added.


The minister stressed that the CEPA would benefit hundreds of people who come to the UAE for better prospects.

"This is going to immensely contribute to jobseekers coming to the UAE. Millions of Indians reside in the UAE and have set up their businesses. We will see the number of Indians residing in the UAE increase further in the near future."

CEPA, which builds on the deep-rooted historical relations between both countries, is the first under the UAE's international agreements development programme, which was launched as part of 'Projects of the 50'.

It was signed after a virtual summit held between His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It aims to boost trade and investments and usher in a new era of economic progress.

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