On the momentous occasion of the 75th Republic Day of India, I extend my heartfelt greetings to all Indians and friends of India in the United Arab Emirates. India's glorious journey through the last 75 years as a vibrant democracy and a thriving constitutional republic has been firmly steered by the values of justice, liberty and equality that are deeply enshrined in our Constitution.
Over this period of three quarters of a century, India has emerged not just as a global economic power growing to be the world’s fifth largest economy, but also as a Vishwaguru which prioritises the happiness and welfare of humanity at large. India has been steadfast in upholding its civilisational ethos of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” or “World is one family” in word and action at the global stage.
In this journey, India has renewed its civilisational links with several countries, including its relationship with the United Arab Emirates. The partnership today is deep-rooted, multi-faceted, future oriented and encompasses almost all aspects of human endeavour.
In the past decade, the relationship has benefitted immensely with the close interactions at the highest level. This had resulted in our special friendship being elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the year 2017. Intense engagements in the recent past, including four meetings in the last six months- two visits by PM Narendra Modi to UAE and two by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to India, has led to robust collaborations across diverse sectors including economy, security, education, health, cultural and technological exchanges.
Our ever-growing collaboration has widened to take a global outlook with the launch of I2U2, India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor, and UAE’s entry into BRICS, reflecting the shared vision of realising the fullest potential of this partnership for the well-being of our people and the world at large.
Taking advantage of the milestone Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement signed in 2022, UAE’s business friendly infrastructure has played host to several engagements between Indian government delegations, entrepreneurs and trade councils with their counterparts. Just last year, Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh led their official delegations to the UAE. The bilateral trade and investment figures are healthy. We are on track to achieve USD 100 billion of non-oil trade well before the target of 2030.
India is a trendsetter in not just adopting digital payments domestically but also sharing the technology in developing similar systems like UPI (Universal Payment Interface) which was developed indigenously. India also signed an agreement with UAE government for the inter-linkage of payment and messaging system of both the countries. It will facilitate efficient and seamless cross border transaction.
India domestic card payment network RuPay make up more than 60% of total cards issued in India, with every second Indian having a RuPay card now. RuPay is now going global. Not too long ago, NPCI International Payments Limited (NIPL), entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Al Etihad Payments (AEP) for Domestic Card Scheme Implementation in UAE. NIPL and AEP will work together to build, implement, and operationalize UAE's national domestic card scheme. The Domestic Card Scheme will aim to facilitate the growth of e-commerce and digital transactions in the UAE, bolster financial inclusion, support the UAE's digitization agenda, increase alternate payment options, reduce the cost of payments, and enhance the UAE's competitiveness and position as a global payments leader.
The other recent bilateral agreements on Local Currency Settlement, Artificial Intelligence, Green Energy etc demonstrate that our aspirations in terms of harnessing digital technology in advancing economic engagement between India and UAE is very high and we work together with our partner entities in UAE to achieve them.
The 'India-UAE Startup Bridge’ is expected to act as a one stop platform where information regarding the Indian and UAE startup ecosystem will be easily accessible to entrepreneurs and stakeholders from both countries. Given the huge potential for startups and focus of both governments to facilitate them, this segment can witness accelerated growth.
I congratulate the people and the government of the United Arab Emirates for the historic, successful COP28 Presidency — a result-oriented World Climate Action Summit that witnessed breakthrough consensus including the successful operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund.
India has been at the forefront of supporting action-oriented steps at the global level in response to climate change. As part of the New Delhi Declaration at G-20 summit, Green Development Pact was adopted along with launching of the Global Biofuel Alliance. Furthering the ideals of Mission LiFE-Lifestyle for Environment, India launched the Green Credit Initiative at COP28 to create a participatory global platform for exchange of innovative environmental programs and instruments. Our achievements in the space sector including the Chandrayaan-3 Moon mission and Aditya-L1 Mission for solar exploration and UAE's Sultan Al Neyadi's historic mission in International Space Station are testament to the shared interest and possible opportunities to collaborate in the field of space exploration.
Aligning with UAE’s vision for promoting holistic health & wellness, Government of India supported organisation of 2nd AYUSH Conference (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy) in Dubai this month. Health & Wellness will also be a focus area for the relationship.
People to people links have been central to this bilateral friendship. I thank the visionary leadership of this great country for their spirit of tolerance, inclusiveness and constant support for the Indian community. The upcoming inauguration of BAPS Hindu Temple at Abu Dhabi stands testament to this point. The Consulate attaches the highest priority to the welfare of the Indian Community in the UAE. We remain committed to serve our vibrant diaspora by further improving the delivery of consular services and wider community outreach. The proposed opening of the first overseas office of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in Dubai will facilitate administration of over 100 CBSE schools in the UAE benefitting nearly 200,000 students.
We look forward to the proposed visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to the UAE next month which is set to be a landmark visit strengthening the partnership further. The Community is also gearing up to receive the Hon’ble PM on this occasion through an event titled “Ahlan Modi”. The prognosis for the India-UAE comprehensive strategic partnership is healthy. In our national journey to achieve the vision of “Viksit Bharat” by 2047, we consider UAE as an indispensable partner and look forward to further deepening and maturing of this relationship.
I once again extend my best wishes to all Indians and friends of India on the momentous occasion of 75th Republic Day. Jai Hind!
Embark an extraordinary journey of faith and devotion with Usha Sarma as she seeks divine solace in the heart of UAE's bustling metropolis, guided by her unwavering belief in the transformative power of spirituality