A New Era for UAE-India Relations

With PM Narendra Modi securing his third term in office, there is a renewed sense of optimism and opportunity for further collaboration and mutual growth between India and the UAE

By Faizal E Kottikollon

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Faizal E Kottikollon, Chairman KEF Holdings and UIBC-UC.
Faizal E Kottikollon, Chairman KEF Holdings and UIBC-UC.

Published: Tue 25 Jun 2024, 10:29 AM

Last updated: Wed 26 Jun 2024, 11:20 AM

As the Chairman of the UAE-India Business Council – UAE Chapter (UIBC-UC), I am delighted to witness the ongoing development and strengthening of bilateral relations between our two nations.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi securing his third term in office, there is a renewed sense of optimism and opportunity for further collaboration and mutual growth between India and the UAE.

Over the past decade, under PM Modi’s leadership, the India-UAE relationship has flourished across various sectors including trade, investment, energy, and strategic cooperation. The UAE remains one of India’s key economic partners in the Gulf region, while India remains the UAE’s largest trading partner. With PM Modi at the helm once again, there is a clear path forward to deepen and expand this strategic partnership.

Amidst the backdrop of significant global events such as the India–Middle East–Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC), the cohesion within the BRICS alliance, the deliberations of the COP28, and the high-level discussions at the G20 Summit held in New Delhi in 2023, the relationship between India and the UAE emerges as a shining example of collaboration and mutual advantage.

The signing of the historic Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) on February 18, 2022, between the UAE and India, underscores the collective vision for enhanced economic cooperation, aiming to enhance bilateral trade to over US$100 bn over the next five years. With ambitious goals to boost non-oil trade and investments, this agreement lays the groundwork for substantial and transformative growth.

This relationship was further solidified with the establishment of the UAE-India Business Council – UAE Chapter (UIBC-UC) on 18 February 2023, coinciding with the inaugural signing anniversary of CEPA. As the Official Joint Business Chamber under the patronage of both nations' Foreign Ministries, UIBC-UC aims to foster innovative economic collaboration and achieve CEPA's objectives, including increasing non-oil trade to $100 billion and channelling $75 billion in investments from the UAE into India by 2030.

Among its pivotal achievements, UIBC-UC has played an instrumental role in J&K’s inaugural FDI project, the ‘Mall of Srinagar’ by Emaar. This landmark development is a historic milestone for the region, promising economic revitalization and showcasing its untapped potential for growth and development.

Furthermore, UIBC-UC’s role as knowledge partners in strategic ventures such as Bharat Mart and India Hospital highlights the council’s shared commitment to fostering innovation and progress. These collaborations exemplify the depth and breadth of the relationship between our two nations, rooted in shared aspirations for advancement and prosperity.

As Chairman of the UAE-India Business Council – UAE Chapter, I am buoyed by the prospects of our bilateral relations under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi. His steadfast emphasis on economic diplomacy, alongside flagship initiatives like Make in India and Digital India, resonates deeply with the UAE's strategic objectives for economic diversification and innovation-led progress.

Furthermore, PM Modi's proactive foreign policy approach, coupled with his emphasis on cultural diplomacy, presents unparalleled opportunities to deepen strategic engagement and foster deeper understanding between our two nations.

Navigating the intricate dynamics of the global landscape, I hold firm in my belief that PM Modi's third term will herald a new era of collaboration and growth between India and the UAE. Through leveraging our respective strengths, embracing innovation, and nurturing mutual respect, we stand poised to unlock a myriad of new pathways to partnership and prosperity, benefitting our people and the broader region alike.

— Faizal E Kottikollon is the founder and chairman of KEF Holdings, a multinational conglomerate renowned for its innovation and social impact across various sectors with presence in India, UAE & Singapore. In addition to successful business ventures such as Emirates Techno Casting FZE (ETC), Kef Infra, Meitra Hospital and various philanthropic initiatives through the Faizal and Shabana Foundation, Faizal’s next marquee project, slated to open doors in October 2024, is Tulåh, the world’s first Integrated Clinical Wellness Sanctuary with an investment running upwards of $100 mn, where the best of modern medicine, traditional wisdom and luxe hospitality will be presented as a gift from India to the world.

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