On the occasion of the 74th Republic Day of India, I convey my warm greetings and good wishes to all Indian nationals and friends of India in the UAE.
On this day in 1950, the Constitution of India entered into force and India became a sovereign, democratic republic. Our constitution encapsulated our values and beliefs of equality, justice, freedom of thought, speech and expression, rule of law and secularism. India has stood the test of time and has blossomed into a thriving and caring democracy. As envisioned by our founding fathers, India has also stood for peace and harmony around the world. Besides being the world’s largest democracy, India is also one of the most diverse cultures where many different faiths, languages, ethnicities and cultures co-exist peacefully.
This Republic Day brings with it an opportunity to reflect on the achivements of India and Indians in the year gone by. Inspite of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian economy has grown to become the fifth largest in the world with exports crossing $400 billion. India administered 2.2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine in 2022. Despite the ongoing geopolitical turmoil and its impact on global energy supply chains, India continued its surge towards clean energy. In October 2022 itself, the total installed renewable energy capacity reached 166 GW, well on its to achieving the 175 GW target by end of the year. Of the 107 startup unicorns in India, 19 achieved the mark in the year 2022, owing to the sustained push to support entrepreneurship in the country. The year 2022 was also one of achievements in the space sector, including the launch of the first ever privately developed rocket Vikram-S. In a major boost to defence manufacturing and production, India commissioned its first indigenously developed aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in 2022 as well.
A Momentous Year Ahead
In a world that is changing rapidly and facing unprecedented challenges — be it geopolitical, economic or even Covid-19 pandemic, it is friends and trustworthy partners that ease the burdens and amplify the fruits. The UAE-India bilateral relations stand as an example to the world today of how adversity can be turned into opportunity. This relationship between the UAE and India has made rapid strides since 2014. India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the UAE four times since 2014, and President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has visited India twice. In the last one year alone, we have witnessed the visit of India’s Vice-President, Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India and several visits of the External Affairs Minister and the Minister for Commerce and Industry.
We signed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2017 and most recently in February 2022, India and the UAE signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), which was truly historic. The India-UAE partnership is accelerating fast and this is also reflected in investments made in India by the UAE sovereign wealth funds across renewable energy, telecommunications, road infrastructure, affordable housing and startups.
The positive ripple effect of growing India-UAE ties is being felt beyond our bilateral relationship with the announcement of the India-Israel-UAE-US (I2U2) Group along with Israel and the US in October 2021. In a matter of months, the I2U2 summit was convened in July 2022. With an outcome-oriented approach, the I2U2 has already decided on projects including an investment of $2 billion by the UAE to develop food parks in India and a $330 million joint project to develop renewable energy capacity of 300 MW in India. The I2U2 takes forward the Abraham Accords of August 2020 by opening new avenues for plurilateral co-operation in a concrete manner. India and the UAE are also also exploring opportunities to collaborate in the African continent in the health sector.
India took over the Presidency of G20 this year with key focus on health, education, economic revival, food security, climate change, combating terrorism and terror financing, and reforming multi-lateral institutions, including the United Nations Security Council. The UAE is a critical partner for India in all fields and will be a key contributor, as a guest country, in all G20 meetings, building up to the Leaders’ Summit in November 2023.
Driven by our leadership, India-UAE relations are deep-rooted and manifested in the closeness of our people. Over 5,500 residents of Abu Dhabi came together at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on the International Day of Yoga — the largest ever. During the 14th India-UAE Joint Comisssion Meeeting in Abu Dhabi last year, we signed an MoU to establish India-UAE Cultural Council, to build upon our historic cultural ties and reinforce the people to people connect. Our countries realise the need to invest in human capital and are in advanced talks to set up the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Abu Dhabi.
To my fellow countrymen who have made the UAE their home, I extend my warm greetings on this momentous occassion. Your contributions to the UAE society as a whole have no equal in any part of the world. You are, and will remain, the most critical pillar, if not the keystone itself, to the glorious arch of India-UAE friendship.
Once again, I reaffirm the commitment of the Embassy of India, Abu Dhabi, to the service of all Indians living and working in the UAE and further strengthening our bilateral relationship.
A very Happy 74th Republic Day of India!