India-UAE celebrate 1 year of Cepa: 'Bharat Mart' project to gain momentum this year

Its platform in Dubai’s Jebel Ali will see more buyer-seller meets that will focus on key trade sectors

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Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sun 30 Apr 2023, 4:53 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Apr 2023, 8:29 PM

Work is likely to gain momentum on the proposed 'Bharat Mart' project this year, that is part of the Cepa’s initiatives to promote trade and investments between India and the UAE.

This is significant as the two countries observe the first anniversary since the time the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) came into force on May 1, 2022. It’s worth noting that the Cepa agreement was negotiated in a record 88 days.

Bharat Mart’s platform in Dubai’s Jebel Ali will see more buyer-seller meets that will focus on key trade sectors where India’s exporters can showcase their products in the UAE.

Shedding light on various future investment opportunities was the consul-general of India in Dubai, Dr Aman Puri who spoke to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of an event organized by the Consulate General of India, Dubai to celebrate the 100th episode of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Maan Ki Baat” with a live telecast of the programme.

Dr Puri said, “We are looking forward to the project where there would be a ‘Bharat Mart’ where Indian exporters would be able to showcase their products here. That is a work in progress. We will hopefully see some progress on that account this year.”

“We’ve already seen a significant increase in our exports from India to the UAE and we’ve also seen increased investment moving from the UAE into India. It has positively impacted several sectors. There are new opportunities which have been created by Cepa. We hope that now with a better understanding of all those opportunities, we will see several other sectors like pharma sector, for example… see more investment coming from India, into the UAE… with our pharma majors setting up manufacturing units etc. We are already seeing a huge jump in gems and jewellery and we see a much easier import of bullion from the UAE into India. So, we will continue to see that increased two-way trade and investment relationship,” he added.

The Consular General of India emphasised the strong relationship between India and the UAE by highlighting the recent ceremony for laying the foundation stone of a mall in Jammu and Kashmir developed by Dubai-based Emaar. He underscored that the collaboration exemplifies the synergistic relationship between the two countries.

This has made Emaar the first overseas company to invest in a mega-mall spread over 1 million square feet in Srinagar, a first since the government of India ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional position in 2019.

Dr Puri adds, “We saw on March 19 at the announcement of a major project where Emaar announced the very significant FDI into Jammu and Kashmir and that is a project which is now likely to go pan India. So, it is not just the Emaar Group, which of course is leading this project, but it also has other players like the Lulu hypermarkets, Reliance retail the Tata Group companies, Apparel group, EFS services...so several of the companies from UAE and India are partnering to bring world class real estate and hospitality to tier two towns in India starting from Jammu and Kashmir. But it will be going pan India. Therefore, I think there are several areas where we will be seeing increased activity.”

‘Mann ki Baat’ highlights achievements of Indian diaspora in UAE

Dr Puri also spokes on how the Indian PM’s popular radio broadcast has not only connected communities in India, but it has also successfully bridged the gap between politicians and the public.

He also noted that the programme has on several occasions highlighted the accomplishments of the Indian diaspora in the UAE.

“The importance of “Mann ki Baat” is not restricted and confined only to India. That has happened because of technology. Our members of the diaspora worldwide have been able to appreciate the ‘connect’ which the Honourable Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has made with the citizens in all different parts of the country. It has also been able to celebrate the achievements, hard work and the initiatives of several of our Indian brothers and sisters, not just from India, but also from the diaspora. So that's been a huge connect.”

Dr Puri adds, “Today, we celebrated the landmark event of the 100th episode of ‘Mann ki Baat’. In two of the episodes, we had a mention of members of the community from the UAE. We had the Kalari Club Dubai, which set a world record that was mentioned in the 96th episode, together with the Dubai police. They were able to set a world record of the largest number of people celebrating this famous and traditional 3,000-year-old Indian martial art of Kalaripayattu.”

Also, one of the episodes of the programme talks about the Kashmiri saffron after it received the GI tag and was first time imported by the Al Maya Group company in the UAE.

“This was mentioned by the Hon'ble Prime Minister as well. So, these have been two instances of achievements here in the UAE which have been covered in the ‘Mann Ki Baat’,” adds Dr Puri.

Kamal Vachani, Partner and Group Director of Al Maya Group says, “We are the first company to introduce the Kashmiri saffron in Dubai, in the UAE. PM Modi mentioned our name in one of the episodes of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ when it was launched here. It has been introduced for the first time with a GI tag to the world. Emiratis and Indians love it and it has been very well accepted.

"We congratulate the PM on the 100th episode of this programme which has become a phenomenal thing around the world. Additionally, I must mention, the Cepa agreement plays a major role in promoting trade from India. Indian products will become more popular in Dubai and in the entire Middle East. This will definitely enhance India-UAE relations further.”

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