GS (M) Paper-2: “Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests”
India – UAE: New contours of partnership
India-UAE bilateral relations:
India’s interest in the UAE rests on several pillars:
- Trade ties of about $50 billion,
- Energy and oil supplies from the world’s fifth largest exporter,
- The welfare of 2.6 million Indians who remit billions, and
- Defence and security.
New contours of partnership:
- While bilateral ties have been robust for decades, the defence and security partnership is clearly the new driver for ties between the two governments.
- The signing of the strategic partnership agreement was the highlight of the UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visit.
- The contours of this partnership are now being set: joint military exercises, joint manufacturing and purchase of equipment and spare parts from India, as well as cooperation on fighting terror.
- The joint statement also contained strong words on “state-sponsored terror”, that the government believes is an indication that the UAE shares India’s frustration on cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, especially in the wake of the recent bomb blast in Kandahar, in which five UAE officials were among the victims.
Suggestions to strengthen the bilateral relations:
- The strategic partnership that India envisions with the UAE must be based on clarity and concrete measures. This should include a crackdown on the shadowy businesses owned by Dawood Ibrahim.
- More steps to curb terror financing of the Taliban and groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan; such money is often routed through expatriate remittances from the UAE.
- India’s hopes of investment from the Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund, one of the world’s largest at $500 billion, will not be realised until New Delhi steps up efficiency at its end.
- That it took more than a year for the government to fully set up the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund mechanism for the UAE funds is a case in point.
- The delay resulted in the MoU for investment of a possible $75 billion over 10 years falling through.
- Personalised leader-to-leader bilateral diplomacy is a great conversation-starter, but not sufficient to energise ties.