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India, UAE sign nine agreements, to boost ties further

New Delhi, Feb 11  Nine agreements were exchanged between India and the UAE, including on cyber security and infrastructure investment, as the two sides agreed to further boost bilateral ties on Thursday, the second day of the three-day visit of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Apart from cyber security and infrastructure investment, the other agreements are for cooperation in the areas of renewable energy, space exploration, insurance, culture, skill development, trade and business, and currency swap arrangement, according to the ministry of external affairs.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sheikh Mohamed held bilateral talks at Hyderabad House here during which the two leaders discussed ways to promote bilateral cooperation.

The two leaders agreed that promoting bilateral cooperation would drive forward the strategic partnership between the United Arab Emirates and India. The two leaders also discussed a number of regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Modi expressed his happiness on the occasion of this important visit which would serve the interest of the two nations. He also praised the special relationship the UAE and India enjoy.

Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied in the visit by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, Sheikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE deputy prime minister and minister of interior, and Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, chairman of the Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Court among others.

Sheikh Mohamed expressed his happiness on visiting India, saying that the country has a special relationship with the people of the UAE and the Arabian Gulf dating back centuries.

He added that this deep-rooted relationship has helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship that the two nations enjoy today.

He said the UAE, under the leadership of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was keen on pushing its relationship with India forward on the solid basis of mutual respect and common interests. He also commended the contributions of the Indian community to the development and growth of the UAE.

There are around 2.6 million expatriate Indians in the UAE, 60 percent of whom are blue collar workers.

The two leaders also discussed regional and international issues, including current developments in the Middle East such as violence and terrorism.

The two leaders concluded their talks by stressing that the two nations have passed a milestone in the path of their strategic relationship, expressing their keenness on pushing this relationship forward.

They also agreed that it was important for the international community to exert more efforts to achieve stability and security at the regional and international levels and to confront the challenges that the people of the world face, including the menace of terrorism, extremism and violence.

Sheikh Mohamed’s is the second highest level visit to India from the Gulf region after the visit of the emir of Qatar in March 2015.

The region, which hosts seven million expatriate Indians and is an important source of remittances, has a strong bearing on India’s security and stability in its neighbourhood.

The UAE is the third largest trading partner of India after the US and China and also the sixth largest source of India’s crude oil imports.

While Thursday’s memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cyber security provides for technical cooperation in cyber space and in combating cyber crime, the one on infrastructure investment aims at establishing a framework for facilitating the participation of UAE institutional investors in infrastructure investments in India.

During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in August last year, the first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years, the Gulf nation committed $75 billion in investments in India’s infrastructure sector.

A framework agreement on renewable energy provides for bilateral cooperation through extensive projects, investments, cooperation in research and development in renewable and clean energy.

Another MoU establishes a framework for cooperation in space science, technology and applications including remote sensing, satellite communication and satellite based navigation.

Earlier on Thursday, after being accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and paying floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat here, the crown prince held a restricted meeting with Modi.

Following this, he called on President Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

During the meeting, Mukherjee, who hosted a private lunch in honour of the visiting dignitary, expressed “great satisfaction” at the elevation of the relationship between India and the UAE to a comprehensive strategic partnership during Modi’s visit last year.

The crown prince later also met Vice President Hamid Ansari at the latter’s residence here during which the two leaders discussed friendly ties and cooperation between the UAE and India as well as ways to promote them in order to achieve common interests.