In the Spirit of Progress and Diversity

As we celebrate the 75th Republic Day, let us look forward to a future where the UAE and India continue to weave the fabric of friendship, prosperity, and innovation

By Neelivethil Rajeev

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Neelivethil Rajeev,Managing Director (MENA and APAC), ESPA Spain.
Neelivethil Rajeev,Managing Director (MENA and APAC), ESPA Spain.

Published: Fri 26 Jan 2024, 11:15 AM

It's been two months since my last piece, and as I find myself typing away once again, a surge of joy envelops me. The occasion that fuels this newfound enthusiasm is none other than Republic Day, a celebration that holds a special place in my heart. Having spent three decades of my life between the sprawling deserts and dazzling skylines of the UAE, there remains an unyielding connection to my cherished birthplace, India.

Now as I shift my gaze towards this momentous occasion, what adds an extra layer of joy to this year's Republic Day is the remarkable growth in the bilateral relations between the UAE and India. Over the last couple of years, the ties between these two nations have flourished, expanding across various fields. The collaboration in trade, technology, culture, and diplomacy has not only deepened but has also brought about a sense of solidarity and shared vision.

The magnification of the relationship between the UAE and India is evident in the numerous milestones achieved. From increased trade partnerships to joint ventures, the nations are navigating the global landscape together, hand in hand. The warmth between the leaders of both countries is reflected in the camaraderie shared during high-level visits, fostering a sense of mutual respect and understanding.

A Gateway to Future Collaborations

The ‘Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit’ 2024 marked a noteworthy chapter in the expanding partnership between the UAE and India that unfolded at the state capital Gandhinagar from January 10 to 12, 2024. The theme of the 10th Summit, 'Gateway to the Future,' not only set the stage for a forward-looking gathering but also underscored the depth and potential of the collaborations unfolding between these two nations. A notable highlight of the summit was the esteemed presence of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the chief guest. This visit not only added a layer of prestige to the event but also emphasised the strengthening ties between India and the UAE. The grand roadshow was a spectacle that beautifully encapsulated the essence of this diplomatic encounter, featuring a warm embrace between the leaders and a joint journey from the airport to Indira Bridge.

The growing economic convergence between the two nations was evident in the MOUs signed in crucial sectors such as food processing, energy, and healthcare. Additionally, the significance of these agreements becomes even more apparent when viewed in the context of the I2U2 initiative (US, Israel, UAE, and India), a US-led collaboration often referred to as the Middle Eastern Quad. The MOUs in food processing and renewable energy align perfectly with the goals of this initiative, pointing towards a strategic partnership that transcends regional boundaries. The multifaceted nature of CEPA, and The BRICS summit in August 2023 marked another watershed moment, as the UAE officially became a member of the group, expanding BRICS to include the key Gulf nation along with the announcement of the strategically important India-Middle East Economic Corridor. This move showcased a strategic step for the UAE, solidifying its global economic and diplomatic engagements. Following this, I strongly believe that this recent partnership has the potential to bring about meaningful advancements that will not only strengthen the economic ties between the UAE and India but also bring about positive transformations in the lives of the people in both nations.

The recently concluded COP 28 was also a major milestone in 2023, bringing together nations from across the globe to address the pressing issue of climate change. The event was a resounding success, with India playing a prominent role in the discussions. The real moment of triumph, however, came with the historic deal that was reached at the conference. For the first time in the history of climate negotiations, the world committed to a transition away from all fossil fuels. This monumental decision marked a crucial step towards achieving the ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. India's active involvement in the talks highlighted its commitment to addressing climate change and contributing meaningfully to global efforts.

UAE’s first BAPS Hindu Temple

In the weeks following the consecration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, my thoughts are drawn to another historic event set to unfold on February 14 — The inauguration of the BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As I reflect on this momentous occasion, I can't help but marvel at the significance of this temple, that holds a distinct position as the first Hindu temple in the UAE, a symbol of cultural richness and diversity in a region known for its cultural tapestry.

The Gulf nation, with its vast Indian diaspora population, holds a unique place in the hearts of millions. Nearly 3.5 million Indians call the UAE their home, forming a vibrant and integral part of its diverse society.

A Remarkable Journey

As an Indian entrepreneur living in the UAE, I am genuinely impressed by the strides the country has taken to enhance the ease of doing business. The UAE's commitment to creating a business-friendly ecosystem is evident through multiple initiatives such as the introduction of a new long-term visa regime, 100 per cent foreign ownership to foreigners, zero income tax, very low corporate income tax, and signing of the CEPA. My company ESPA too has undeniably reaped the rewards of the UAE's pro-business environment, establishing itself as a formidable player in the market. Our success story is intricately woven with the unique selling points (USPs) that have been the hallmark of our brand – competitive pricing, technical competence, and a commitment to effective after-sales service.

Today, ESPA is deeply entrenched in the Middle East, actively participating in various sectors of construction with a focus on energy-efficient products. The year 2023 marked a significant success for companies in the UAE, with ESPA being no exception. This prosperity is owed in no small part to the supportive business-friendly environment and supportive measures implemented by the UAE government.

As we celebrate the remarkable achievements on this auspicious 75th Republic Day, the journey we have embarked upon is one of shared aspirations and mutual growth, fostering a profound sense of pride in witnessing the flourishing partnership. Today marks the inaugural step towards a future filled with promise and collaboration for our nations!

— Neelivethil Rajeev is the Managing Director at ESPA for MENA and APAC, a Spanish Group predominantly in the MEP/HVAC side. He has been with the brand since inception for more than three decades.

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