UAE-India CEPA strengthens economic relations, drives sustainable growth

Both countries set goal of raising non-oil trade volume to $100 billion over five years

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Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 2 Sep 2022, 9:46 PM

Last updated: Fri 2 Sep 2022, 10:13 PM

A strong UAE-India strategic partnership has led to sustainable development and accomplishments across diverse areas of trade, tourism, aviation among others, top leaders observed.

The bilateral relations, which got upgraded to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in 2017, have been touching new heights with the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in February.

As part of continuous effort of the UAE-India leadership to expand bilateral ties, President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Friday received a letter written from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding strengthening the strategic relations and the prospects of developing them to serve their common interests.

Dr S Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, delivered the letter to Sheikh Mohamed during a meeting held at Al Shati Palace in Abu Dhabi. Both sides discussed various aspects of the bilateral relations and the importance of cooperating to enhance and advance them in line with CSP and CEPA.

Separately, the third session of the UAE-India Strategic Dialogue was co-chaired by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Jaishankar. On Thursday, the 14th edition of the UAE-India Joint Committee was also held.


Sheikh Abdullah noted that the UAE and India have succeeded in establishing an advanced and sustainable model for their strategic relations, which has yielded many significant achievements across several sectors. He said that the two countries are eager to strengthen them to advance their common interests.

Sheikh Abdullah stressed the CEPA has broadened the horizons for developing and strengthening economic relations to drive sustainable development in both countries.

“The growth of our economic relations brought about by CEPA has generated substantial opportunities in areas such as trade, investment, tourism, and aviation. Indeed, our respective economies have already begun to prosper under this agreement. India ranks as the top export partner to the UAE, second in terms of imports, and first in attracting foreign direct investments from the UAE. Additionally, air traffic between the two countries reached nearly 3.5 million passengers in 2021.”

Sheikh Abdullah noted that the UAE is the second largest destination and source for Indian exports and imports, with a strong and growing position as a foreign direct investment source for India.

“The total trade between the two countries has reached an unprecedented level, climbing to almost $70 billion in 2021. Indeed, our relationship is one of the most successful bilateral stories in the field of economic diplomacy. The success of our relationship has been augmented by the establishment of various multilateral cooperation initiatives. Our multilateral cooperation is an integral part of our strategy to advance Emirati-Indian relations, while enhancing our standing regionally and globally.”


Sheikh Abdullah highlighted the successful collaboration within the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and cooperation between the two nations within the I2U2 grouping, as evidence of the existing and emerging opportunities the UAE and India have within international organisations and institutions.

“I also look forward to deeper cooperation with India via the intensification of the UAE’s participation in the BRICS group, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the G20. We are eager to make meaningful contributions within these forums in a manner consistent with the UAE’s standing in the international community.”

He thanked India for its support for the UAE’s candidacy for membership to the Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the period 2023-2026.

“We value India’s support for the UAE’s re-nomination for membership in the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Group III for the period 2022-2025.”

UAE Embassy to play key role

Through CEPA, both the countries have set an ambitious goal of raising the volume of non-oil trade to $100 billion over the next five years.

“In order to reach this goal and achieve the ambitious economic vision put forth by both sides, I have personally been keen to elevate the role of the UAE Embassy in facilitating trade, and investment cooperation. I hope that our Embassy will become a model for our embassies and missions all over the world. As we continue discussing the opportunities, achievements and distinguished relationships that comprise the UAE-India relationship, it also behooves us to tackle the challenges that emerge as we grow closer.”

Sheikh Abdullah urged both sides to work together constructively.

“We must not put off addressing outstanding issues, but instead, we must devise intuitive and innovative solutions to our challenges to ensure that they can be consigned to history as yet another record of our success.”

Sheikh Abdullah underscored the need to progress issues of double taxation exemptions, and aviation, noting that these two areas “constitute an axis for our continued trade, investment and tourism growth”.

Meanwhile, Jaishankar, who wrapped his three-day official visit, praised the strategic partnership and the strong historical relations.

He stressed the keenness to strengthen and develop strategic relations to meet the aspirations of their leaderships. The Indian minister noted that the strides made within the framework of their partnership are a source of pride and a driver to seek more successes to achieve common development goals.

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