Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday discussed ways to take India-UAE ties to new heights with the Gulf nation’s Foreign Minister, who invited the Indian leader to visit his country.
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, who held talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday, called on the Prime Minister and conveyed that India-UAE relations have never been better. Prime Minister Modi conveyed to the UAE Foreign Minister his resolve to step up cooperation with the Gulf country in key sectors such as trade and energy.
Recalling the warmth and hospitality extended to him during his previous visits to the UAE, the prime minister expressed happiness at the growth of bilateral relations over the last five years, a statement from the PMO said. The UAE foreign minister also outlined his country’s vision to enhance bilateral cooperation for mutual benefit of the people of both the countries and also for peace, prosperity and stability in the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated his strong commitment to work with the UAE leadership to take the relationship to higher levels in all spheres of cooperation, including in trade and economy, energy, tourism and people-to-people contact, the statement said.
Prime Minister Modi also requested the foreign minister to convey his best wishes for health, happiness and all-round success to the UAE President and the Crown Prince, it said. During the call on with the PM, Sheikh Abdullah conveyed felicitations of the UAE leadership on the resounding victory in the elections. He also extended an invitation to the PM to visit UAE, a Ministry of External Affairs statement said. The Prime Minister thanked the UAE President and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi for conferring on him the prestigious Order of Zayed, which he said he was proud to receive on behalf of 1.3 billion Indians.
Both leaders expressed happiness at the current state of bilateral relations and discussed regional issues. They also agreed to build on these growing strategic links as well as further their trilateral cooperation initiatives, especially in Africa. On Monday, Jaishankar and Sheikh Abdullah held wide-ranging talks and discussed ways to boost cooperation in key fields such as counterterrorism, security and energy. Sheikh Abdullah’s visit came at a time when the issue of energy security is high on India’s agenda due to the situation arising out of the US sanctions on importing oil from Iran.
The ties between India and the UAE have been on an upswing for the last few years. The UAE is India’s third-largest trade partner and fourth-largest energy supplier. The country is also home to a 3.3 million-strong Indian community, largest in the Gulf region. Prime Minister Modi had visited the UAE in August 2015 during which the two countries decided to elevate their relation to a comprehensive strategic partnership. The prime minister also visited the UAE in February last year. As the chair of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the UAE invited India as the ‘Guest of Honour’ at the 46th Council of Foreign Ministers meeting of the grouping in Abu Dhabi in March.