India, UAE sign seven agreements across various sectors (Roundup)

New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) India and the UAE signed seven agreements across various sectors on Thursday, the second day of the three-day visit to India of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

“The strength of a multifaceted relationship. The leaders witness the exchange of four agreements across various sectors,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said after the agreements were exchanged by officials from both sides in the presence of Sheikh Mohamed and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The four agreements cover the fields of cyber security, infrastructure investment, renewable energy and currency swap arrangements, he said.

“Three more agreements have already been exchanged in the fields of insurance, culture and skill development,” Swarup stated in another tweet.

An eighth agreement between EXIM Bank of India and Dubai Economic Council will be signed during the crown prince’s visit to Mumbai on Friday.

Earlier on Thursday, after being accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and paying floral tribute to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat here, the crown prince held a restricted meeting with Modi at the latter’s 7 Race Course Road here.

“Productive interaction with HH Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Avenues of India-UAE cooperation are immense,” Modi later tweeted.

Following this, Sheikh Mohamed called on President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan

During the meeting, Mukherjee expressed “great satisfaction” at the elevation of the relationship between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

“Welcoming the crown prince, the president conveyed that India shares UAE’s desire for a closer partnership between the two countries,” a statement issued by the President’s Secretariat said.

Mukherjee said India appreciated the vision of the crown prince’s father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the personal commitment of the crown prince to strengthen bilateral ties with India.

“President said it was a matter of great satisfaction that the two countries have decided to elevate their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership,” the statement said.

Mukherjee said Modi’s visit to the UAE in August last year, the first by an Indian prime minister in 34 years, has resulted in increasing mutual understanding and bonds of friendship between the two nations.

“The joint statement issued during that visit reflects the desire to intensify cooperation between the two countries in a wide range of sectors – political, economic, security as well as on regional and multilateral issues,” he said.

Mukherjee also expressed happiness over the establishment of good institutional mechanisms including a joint commission between India and the UAE and said close collaboration through these institutional dialogues and mechanisms would address pending issues and progress cooperation to the desired levels.

“The president said during the prime minister’s visit to the UAE, the two countries had agreed that investment institutions in the UAE would be encouraged to invest in India’s infrastructure, including through the India-UAE Infrastructure Investment Fund and a target of $75 billion is set for the same. India looks forward to working together with UAE to achieve this,” the statement said.

The crown prince warmly reciprocated the president’s views and expressed his desire to create a strong bridge of friendship and cooperation between India and the UAE.

“Although our relationship have crossed many milestones, that doesn’t stop us from opening new horizons for this relationship to grow and prosper,” WAM news agency quoted Sheikh Mohamed as saying.

“We expect all the mutual groups between the two countries to meet the desire of the leaderships of the two nations by working on creating new opportunities for economic, developmental and cultural partnerships,” he said.

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

Mukherjee hosted a private lunch in honour of the visiting dignitary which was attended by Prime Minister Modi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, other dignitaries from India and the UAE as well as business leaders.

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.

The UAE is home to around 2.6 million expatriate Indians, 60 percent of whom are blue collar workers.

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