Patil to set new pace in Indo-UAE relations

One might well ask why the Indian President Prathibha Singh Patil has opted for the UAE state visit on her way to Damascus. And one might get a slew of very valid answers especially in the warm bask of a visit from the US President in which her country has been sunning itself these past two weeks.

By Bikram Vohra

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Published: Thu 18 Nov 2010, 10:44 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 10:29 AM

There is little doubt that New Delhi sees the UAE as a powerful piece on the regional chessboard and voice of reason in the greater comity of nations. In recent years the UAE has made its opinion and stance on major issues felt on the global stage including a resonance in the UN not usually conceded to smaller nations. This five-day stopover, while a sign of tangible encouragement to the huge NRI community also marks India’s growing economic and strategic engagement with the UAE.

With India now a major player on the world market both nations are keen to focus on procreating the basis for mutually satisfying fiscal projects in core areas of the Indian economy, including in the agriculture sector. This last mentioned sector is going to be high on the agenda as is her effort to explain India’s stand on security in the region and thereby also giving a fillip to the present framework for a strategic dialogue as well as defence cooperation.

The exchange of more intelligence, the co-operation between law enforcement agencies and a greater level of trust by way

of implementing extraditions are certain to benefit from this visit.

Also at the top on the agenda of President Patil’s visit would be the exploration of avenues so that there could be a fast track to trade cooperation with the public sector picking up the baton and upping the ante for more business deals including manpower and skill sets. It is no secret that Indian companies have for long expressed their desire to get on the bandwagon and explore energy development projects in the Gulf region, while Gulf companies are equally keen on making investments in India’s downstream and petrochemical sectors.

With India planning to expand tenfold where its energy consumption is concerned between now and 2030, the Gulf begins to play a very important role in scaling the demand for more crude oil.

The president’s visit also paves the way for what the corridors of power whisper will be a swift follow up visit from the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

At that juncture, the UAE would probably look keenly at any proposal from New Delhi with intent to invest in India’s petrochemical infrastructure.

Bikram Vohra is the Editorial Advisor to Khaleej Times

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