India, UAE trade increased by 30% since Cepa signing, says Dr Gargash

The Emirates is India’s third-largest trade partner, second largest export market, and there are more Indian nationals in the UAE than in any other country abroad


Ashwani Kumar

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Published: Mon 12 Dec 2022, 10:17 PM

The bilateral trade between the UAE and India has surged by 30 per cent since the signing of the historic Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) this year, a top government official said during an event in Abu Dhabi.

During the opening day of India Global Forum, Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Diplomatic Adviser to the UAE President, said that the two countries “target reaching $100 billion” in annual bilateral trade.

“Since 2015, the milestones are just too many to catalogue. What was really an excellent relationship has become strategic and fit for the future relationship. I was speaking to the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Sunjay Sudhir, last week and he was telling me, we don’t really have the official figures yet, but we are seeing about a 30 per cent increase in trade following the signing of Cepa in February,” he said during a panel discussion with Dr S Jaishankar, Indian Minister of External Affairs, at the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM).

Dr Gargash underlined that technology is seen as a major stream for generating extra revenue to reach the $100 billion-mark goal.

“If we are able to harness technology, make sure that we can work together in various areas of technology within our bilateral and multilateral, smaller multilateral forums, you will see the remarkable achievements of the past seven years will really pale in front of what we’re really seeing in a truly promising relationship.”

‘Intrinsic, intuitive comfort’ in ties

Dr Jaishankar noted that India and the UAE are able to talk, collaborate and do business because of an “intrinsic and intuitive comfort” between the countries.

“There are a lot of things that we don’t need to say. There are times when we may occasionally have a different perspective. Even that is often expressed quite subtly between us. So, when I look at the return of history and the relationships, which will go forward in the coming days, I certainly would rank the India-UAE relationship very high on that.”

The minister highlighted that the UAE is India’s third largest trade partner, second largest export market, and there are more Indian nationals in the UAE than any other country abroad.

“So, whether we are talking about people or business, this country has a particular salience in our perspectives,” Dr Jaishankar said.

The bilateral visits led by the leaders have led to a “veritable transformation” in relationship with the “defining moment” being the signing of Cepa.

Dr Jaishankar noted that the level of cooperation has grown beyond traditional sectors like energy and trade to new areas like space, artificial intelligence, education, startups, which will “redefine the relationship and help it go to a higher orbit”.

The minister stressed on UAE-India cooperation involving France, exploring possibilities in Africa, and the I2U2 grouping with the US and Israel.

“As yet another example of our changed relationship, India and the UAE ties are now beginning to have a broader ripple impact.”


India, UAE to shape a changing world

Dr Jaishankar said both the countries have been able to rediscover their relationship in the last decade.

“We want to use the relationships today in a changing world, not just to survive in a changing world, but to shape a changing world. So, it is in many ways, a very ambitious relationship. Because it’s not limited, really by its bilateral possibilities. It’s certainly today having a regional impact. But I’m very confident that as we get deeper into the relationship, it will also make itself felt at the global level.”

Separately, the Indian minister said that developed countries weren’t sincere in climate action.

“The real problem that you are facing today is the same problem we had multiple COPs ago, which is that the developed countries are still not sincere about keeping their promises,” he said while talking about climate justice.

‘Political process to end Ukraine conflict’

Dr Gargash noted that only a “political process” can ensure a “quick end to the conflict in Ukraine”.

“We all want to see a quick end to the conflict in Ukraine. This conflict will not end except politically and through a political process. It is in our interest to make sure there is a political process that ends this conflict,” he said.

He said the UAE has taken a “principled” position on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“As a country of our size in this region, we don’t accept that conflict is resolved through military means. And at the same time we think that in this international system, sovereignty has to be protected and respected.”

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